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Palliative care

What is palliative care?

Palliative care is a philosophy of patient and family-centered care. It focuses on relieving symptoms, pain, and the stress of a serious illness to optimize patient comfort and quality of life.

It is for people with a serious or life threatening medical problem. These could include:

  • Heart failure
  • COPD
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • ALS
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Many other medical conditions

How do I receive palliative care?

To receive palliative care, you do not need a doctor to certify that you have a terminal illness and a life expectancy of six-months or less.

A palliative care program assists patients of any age, at any stage of their illness, with a specially trained team. This can often include doctors, nurses, social workers, and spiritual care providers. Some palliative care teams have physical therapists, speech therapists, pharmacists, dieticians, and trained volunteers.

Where do I go to get palliative care?

You can get palliative care in your home, hospital, clinic, rehab center, or in a nursing home. 

To find out what palliative care resources are available near you, The Center to Advance Palliative Care allows you to search by zip code and preferred site of care (for example: home or hospital). There is even a quiz you can take if you aren’t sure, and handouts you can share with your doctor.