What is Palliative Medicine

100989469Palliation is defined as “relieving or soothing the symptoms of a disease or disorder.”  Many people mistakenly believe this means palliative care can only be provided when a patient can’t be cured.  Actually, palliative medicine can be provided by one doctor, while other doctors work with the patient to cure an illness.

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 patients recover from their illness by relieving symptoms such as pain, anxiety or loss of appetite, as they undergo sometimes difficult medical treatments or procedures, such as surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.

The overall goal of palliative medicine is to improve the patient’s and family’s quality of life during an illness.

Palliative Medicine Provides:

  • Relief from pain and other uncomfortable symptoms
  • Assistance in making difficult medical decisions
  • Coordination of care with other physicians and help to navigate the often complex health care system.
  • Guidance in making a plan for living well, based on needs, concerns and goals for care
  • Emotional and spiritual support and guidance for patients and family members