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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 often thought of as part of end-of-life care, it can be part of the care given to people in any stage of their disease. Palliative care allows for medical therapies but focuses on:

  • Comfort and 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 patient 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: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Todd Gersten MD
Date Last Reviewed: 12/1/2020
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