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Palliative Care

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is patient and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing, and treating suffering. Palliative care involves addressing physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual needs, as well as, facilitating patient autonomy and access to information and choice

Palliative care works closely with patients and their primary care provider to administer, including but not limited to, symptom management, goals of care navigation, access to information and referral services, and counseling/support.


Palliative care, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO):

  • Provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms;
  • Affirms life and regards dying as a normal process;
  • Intends neither to hasten or postpone death;
  • Integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care;
  • Offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death;
  • Offers a support system to help the family cope during the patients illness and their own bereavement;
  • Uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families including bereavement counseling, if indicated;
  • Will enhance quality of life and may also positively influence the course of illness;
  • Is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and includes those investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing clinical complications (WHO 2008).

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