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Palliative care is medical treatment that reduces the symptoms of illness with the goal of improving quality of life. It is total care of the body, mind and spirit with the intent to prevent and relieve suffering.

Palliative care treats the patient and the family, focusing on relief of pain, stress, and provides a layer of support that compliments your medical team and your plan of care. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine (2010) found that palliative care improved cancer patients' quality of life, reducing symptoms and improving their outlook. It also found that patients who received palliative care support early in diagnosis also lived longer.

Palliative care can be given at any stage of illness and will compliment your primary medical plan with the focus on managing pain as well as other symptoms. Doctors refer to palliative care because it fights the negative effects of illness. This part of care can become most important when an illness is serious or can cause a great deal of suffering.

Hospitals understand that patients and their families need better communication, more emotional support, and focused attention to symptom management. Palliative care consultants work to support communication between your physician and other healthcare team members involved in your care , as well as family members. Palliative services can not only help with symptoms such as pain, but also assist with advanced care planning, setting goals of care , and smooth the transition to other care settings after discharge.

Hospice care is a system for delivering palliative care when curative treatment is not possible or desired by a patient. Because hospice care is a comprehensive way of providing palliative care, it is reserved for patients who are in the most intense phase of illness – those who are in the last six months of life. Palliative care can be involved at the time of diagnosis as part of a comprehensive treatment plan intended to cure the patient. Palliative care focuses on relieving physical, emotional, and social distress at any phase of illness, regardless of prognosis.

Physicians are available 24/7 by written physician order only. Palliative Care will see you within 24 hours. To ask for our help, contact your nurse or attending physician. Ask them to write an order for us to see you.