Palliative care, which is any medical treatment that concentrates on reducing the severity of disease symptoms, is an option patients battling serious, complex illnesses may want to consider.
Instead of striving to halt, delay or reverse progression of a disease or provide a cure, palliative care is designed to relieve suffering and improve the quality of life. It involves care for the WHOLE person and focuses on comfort and relief of symptoms, while also paying attention to the individual’s physical, social and spiritual needs.
Palliative care can be appropriate for anyone with a life-limiting illness. That can include serious heart disease, advanced cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), end-stage dementia, or any illness where there is progressive disability.
One mode of palliative care that you may be familiar with is hospice care. However, not all palliative care is hospice. Patients in hospice make the explicit decision that they are not seeking a cure for their illness any longer. In contrast, patients undergoing non-hospice palliative care may still be receiving curative treatments.