Palliative Care

What is palliative care?

Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with any life-limiting illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and careful assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial or spiritual.

Palliative care:

  • provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms
  • integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care
  • offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death
  • offers a support system to help the family cope during the patient's illness and in their own bereavement
  • uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families
  • affirms life and regards dying as a normal process
  • intends neither to hasten or postpone death
  • is relevant all through the course of an illness, in combination with many other treatments that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, medication or renal replacement therapy.

Who provides palliative care?

Palliative care is part of the care delivered by a wide range of health and social care professionals working in the community, in care homes and in hospitals.  Some patients with more complex problems need advice or care from a palliative care specialist.

Last Reviewed: 01/06/2011