When most people think about palliative care, it is usually in association with the comfort care given to patients in hospice, at the end of life.
That is true, but palliative care is also used to help patients as they face the sometimes long road of terminal or chronic illnesses. It offers choices in the way a disease is managed.
Serious illnesses can cause physical symptoms, such as pain, nausea or fatigue. Patients may also have psychological symptoms such as depression or anxiety. Treatments for disease may cause symptoms or side effects. Palliative care relieves symptoms without curing the disease.
Diseases that may benefit from palliative care include cancer, congestive heart failure, kidney failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, AIDS and Alzheimer’s.”