Palliative Care focuses on improving a person’s quality of life throughout the course of serious illness, or after a life-changing injury. Patients often receive palliative care along with other medical treatments – such as intensive care, cardiac or cancer care – as an extra layer of support that is based on your needs, not your diagnosis or prognosis.
Palliative care can begin whenever you and your health care provider feel it can help. For many patients, this happens shortly after the diagnosis of a serious condition.
(From DHMC, 2013)
No. Receiving palliative care does not mean you’re dying. Being referred to palliative care means that you are dealing with difficult medical problems – ones that can cause pain, emotional uncertainty and personal complications for you and the people you love.
By addressing pain, reducing stress and improving comfort, people tend to sleep better and eat a bit better and stay more active. It is not surprising that their health improves – and sometimes people live longer!
NO! We support doing whatever you, your family and your primary health care team feel is right for you. Many of the patients we see are receiving treatments, such as:
- Chemotherapy or radiation for cancer
- Cardiac procedures (angiography or pacemakers, and surgery)
- Clinical trials (offering experimental approaches for your condition)
If difficult decisions about treatments arise, we can help you sort through the options. Palliative Care does not replace your primary treatment; it works to support the care you are receiving to improve your quality of life.