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Palliative Care

Palliative care, unlike other kinds of medicine, does not try to cure a disease. Instead the goal is to relieve symptoms. Because it is not curative, palliative care is usually discussed for people with a terminal illness who either have no more treatment options or who choose it over aggressive treatment due to quality of life considerations. However, palliative care can improve quality of life at any stage of a disease.

Palliative care is one of many treatment options open to patients. It should be discussed with healthcare providers so that the patient and family know all the options and can make an informed choice about the kind of treatment they desire.

Palliative care is often confused with hospice. Although it is always a part of hospice, palliative care refers simply to relief of symptoms, while hospice is a larger treatment system that is targeted to those in the last six months of life.

Related Resources

The Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute »
The Liverpool Pathway is an integrated care pathway that is used at the bedside to drive up sustained quality of the dying in the last hours and days of life.

Engage with Grace »
A simple, online form to help facilitate end-of-life conversations.

The Conversation Project »
Tools to help facilitate end-of-life conversations.

Hospice America »
Explore important topics related to hospice and palliative care in the United States.