Palliative care is a type of medical treatment for people with serious illnesses. You can receive palliative care at home, or in a hospice or hospital setting. It can be given with treatments for your disease, or you can ask for palliative care alone if your illness is incurable or you feel the treatment is worse than the disease. Palliative care can also help to relieve the side effects of other medications you take. Palliative care is often provided by a team of health care providers, including doctors, nurses, and other specialists.
Palliative care helps to relive unpleasant symptoms such as:
- Trouble breathing
- Sleep problems
- Nausea/loss of appetite
About 90 million Americans have serious or life-threatening illnesses. This number may climb to nearly 160 million by 2020. According to the Center to Advance Palliative Care, 6 million Americans could benefit from palliative treatment. 3[CAPS/Stats/p1/bull1-3] Yet 7 out of 10 people don’t know anything about it. And among those whom do, many think palliative care is just for people who are dying, a type of care better described by the services offered by hospice. In fact, palliative care is also appropriate for people with a long life ahead of them, and for all ages, including children, the elderly, and anyone in between.