Trying to Understand Palliative Care – What is palliative care

Understanding Palliative Care
Dear Olivia,

A family member has recently had some health issues that have worsened; he sees a lot of specialists and is still receiving treatment for his condition. My doctor has recommended palliative care as part of his medical team, but I am not sure what this means. Can you help me understand?

-Trying to Understand Palliative Care

Dear Trying to Understand Palliative Care,

Palliative care is a confusing concept for many but simply stated, palliative medicine is aimed at symptom management and quality of life for those with serious or complex medical conditions. Your doctor may refer you to a palliative clinic or supportive palliative care program if he or she feels that you may benefit from a specialist in such symptom management and coordination of care. Often times, complex conditions require the input of not one, but a team of physicians, and to help you navigate this sometimes confusing and stressful journey, a palliative program can offer the expertise of a physician certified in hospice and palliative medicine, medical social worker, RN case manager, Nurse Practitioner, spiritual counselor and more. It is an interdisciplinary team approach to your individualized healthcare needs. Visiting Nurse Association’s supportive palliative program is here to help as you navigate this season in life.

Chief Nursing Officer of VNA Texas

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Following the diagnosis of a life-limiting illness, patients and their loved ones have many questions about the best course of action. VNA Care Choices provides supportive care services in the home while continuing treatment with your current physician.

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