If you or a loved one is facing serious illness, you may want to ask for a consultation with a palliative care doctor. Palliative care is a medical specialty that focuses on relieving the symptoms and stress caused by serious medical problems. It uses a team approach to meet the complex needs and improve quality of life for both you and your family.
A palliative team typically consists of a palliative care doctor, nurse, social worker and chaplain who work alongside your other healthcare professionals to address your medical, physical, psychosocial and spiritual needs.
A palliative care team also assists with communication, decision making, advance care planning and understanding the expected course of an illness. If you face difficult medical decisions, your palliative care team will help you understand your options, talk through treatment preferences and your goals for care, and help prepare you for what to expect.
Palliative care helps to soothe symptoms for those facing any serious illness, such as cancer, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), dementia, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and many more. Palliative care is appropriate at any stage of disease and can complement curative therapies. In the case of terminal illness, the palliative care team will assist in creating an end-of-life care plan and support you and your family.