Palliation is defined as “relieving or soothing the symptoms of a disease or disorder.” Many people mistakenly believe this means you receive palliative care only when you can’t be cured. Actually, palliative medicine can be provided by one doctor while other doctors work with you to try to cure your illness.
Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering.
Palliative care is for people of any age, and at any stage in an illness, whether that illness is curable, chronic or life-threatening. In fact, palliative care may actually help you recover from your illness by relieving symptoms such as pain, anxiety or loss of appetite, as you undergo sometimes-difficult medical treatments or procedures, such as surgery or chemotherapy.
As doctors specializing in palliative medicine, we provide care and support as you and your loved ones face the many challenges of living with a serious illness. While your other doctors focus on your general health or treating your disease or condition, we concentrate on preventing and alleviating suffering and improving your quality of life.
Compassionate palliative care succeeds when there is a team approach. The team usually includes the palliative doctor, nurses and other professionals. Working closely with the palliative team we:
All of this requires regular, open communication with you, your loved ones and your doctors. The ultimate goal is to ensure that you and your loved ones know what care and support are available to you and to help you get it as you live with a difficult illness.
Patients and their loved ones who have worked with a palliative care team say it has made a real and positive difference in their health care and their lives.