Palliative medicine helps relieve pain; manage physical symptoms of disease and its treatment; prevent emotional and spiritual suffering; and improve quality of life for patients. Palliative medicine concentrates on alleviating or controlling symptoms, rather than providing a cure. Palliative care provides relief from pain, shortness of breath, nausea, and other distressing symptoms; affirms life and regards dying as a normal process; intends neither to hasten nor to postpone death; integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care; offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible; offers a support system to help the family cope; uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families; will enhance quality of life; is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Palliative medicine is provided by a team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists who work together with a patient's other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment. The philosophy and multi-disciplinary team approach are similar with hospice and palliative medicine, and indeed the training programs and many organizations provide both. The biggest difference between hospice and palliative care is the patient: where they are in their illness especially related to prognosis and their goals/wishes regarding curative treatment.
Last date updated on July, 2014