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Palliative Care for People with Cancer

What is palliative care?

Palliative care is care that makes patients as comfortable as possible. It also prevents and relieves suffering. And, although it is part of end-of-life care, it can be applied to care for people in any stage of disease. Palliative care allows for medical therapies, but focuses on:

  • Improving quality of life

  • Reaching the best possible function (for example, daily activities, physical activity, self-care)

  • Helping with decision making about end-of-life care

  • Providing emotional support to patients and their families

Talk with your healthcare provider or local hospital about whether or not palliative care is available in your area. Check with your health plan to see whether this type of care is covered.

What are the patient's rights?

Patient's rights are a list of rights to make sure that the company, individual, or institution that is providing his or her care will honor the quality of care and decision-making processes. These rights will be given to the patient and family before care begins. It is similar to a contract that gives protection to the patient and family. It also informs them of services and limitations of the caregiver(s).

What are palliative care services?

Either in the home, hospital, or a specialized setting, the services most palliative care providers can offer are extensive. The following are some of the services offered:

  • Psychosocial support and intervention to help the patient and family members

  • Equipment for delivery of medicines, nutrition, oxygen, and suction

  • Equipment including special beds, toilets, chairs, wheelchairs, and bath needs

  • Skilled nursing care, healthcare providers, pharmacists, and other specialists

  • Medicine and nutrition support

  • Spiritual, religious, and cultural needs or requests

  • Special services for siblings or children (such as, support groups)

  • Respite care allowing the family to rest

  • Bereavement care

Online Medical Reviewer: LoCicero, Richard, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ziegler, Olivia, MS, PA
Date Last Reviewed: 1/18/2016
© 2000-2016 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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