Palliative Defined

Palliative Defined

‘Palliative’ (p`alle `aytiv) or ‘Palliate’ (p`allee `ayt): the relief of physical, emotional, psychosocial and spiritual symptoms with or without cure of the medical condition. Simply put, palliative care seeks to assist you in living the best day you can live, every day.

Unfortunately, for many people, it is synonymous with hospice and, therefore, death. Whether speaking to patients, families or other health care providers, the reaction to the word ‘palliative’ is often the same: hands up, step back, shake head and an emphatic, “no-no, it’s not time for THAT.”

Consider for a moment that palliative care (relief of symptoms whether or not the underlying condition can be cured) has become a medical specialty, just as cardiology, neurology, nephrology and many others are. Palliative care has taken the concept of holistic symptom relief, combined it with a team approach and is focused on the prevention and relief of suffering while supporting the best quality of life for patients (and loved ones) facing a serious illness.

Unlike hospice, palliative care does not require a terminal prognosis. Palliative care seeks to provide the physical, emotional, psychosocial and spiritual care that is often needed throughout the course of a serious illness, diagnosis to conclusion. Palliative care can and should be utilized while receiving aggressive treatment to prolong life, as well as to ease the symptoms of dying.

Studies have shown that people who receive palliative care can live longer, with greater quality of life than those who do not receive palliative care. Before you step back, shake your head and say “it’s not time for THAT,” ask yourself why you wouldn’t deserve the very best YOU-based care that WE can provide.