December 01, 2020

Palliative and hospice care

Support in trying times

Facing a serious or life-threatening illness can bring on emotions of uncertainty, fear, stress and anxiety.

But you and your caregivers do not have to weather this alone. While specialty palliative care and hospice care — a type of palliative care for people with terminal illness — are distinct, they both provide interdisciplinary teams of professionals to envelop you in medical, emotional and spiritual support. Their collective expertise can improve your quality of life and ease physical symptoms and distress.

Some people don't experience the full benefits of palliative or hospice care, sometimes due to misunderstandings about what these services offer or because referral to these services is delayed or not offered. Learn about the ways you and your family can receive extra support in trying times.

Palliative care

Surveys have shown that many people are unaware or confused about what exactly palliative care offers.

Palliative medicine is a medical specialty dedicated to serving those with serious or life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer, heart failure, Parkinson's disease and many others. It aims to improve quality of life by treating complex pain and other symptoms — as well as provide mental and spiritual support to you and your caregivers.

Palliative medicine offers a type of care that manages symptoms independent of the disease. You don't have to be close to death to receive palliative care, and it can be appropriate at any age and any stage of serious illness. It's supportive care that goes along with any active specialty care you are receiving for your condition.

Ideally, palliative care...