Palliative care is an approach to the care of people diagnosed with progressive, incurable illness.
Palliative care focuses on improving the quality of life for both patients and their loved ones.
Palliative care provides specialist holistic support and management of pain and other symptoms, enabling patients to live as comfortably and actively as possible until death.
The psychological, social and spiritual aspects of care are integrated with the clinical aspects, thereby addressing the total needs of the patient.
Palliative care thereby relieves suffering and protects the dignity of patients.
Palliative care takes a positive approach to death and dying and encourages discussion among the person, family and care team about death and about their wishes for their care at the end of life.
While death is accepted as a normal part of living, our focus is on life and on helping each person with a life-threatening illness to live as comfortably and fully as possible.
The team approach used in palliative care addresses the needs of both the patient and their family and includes bereavement counseling if needed.
Open communication between the person/family and the care team is fostered as well as the development of a caring and supportive relationship. Family members and friends are encouraged and helped to care for their loved ones by addressing practical and other issues as well as their expectations, needs hopes and fears.
Hospice palliative care can be provided on its own or in conjunction with curative care. For example, a patient may receive palliative care for cancer while receiving curative care for a respiratory infection. The person can continue to see their own doctor as well as the palliative care team.