What is palliative care?

Palliative care is the active holistic care of patients with advanced progressive illness.

Management of pain and other symptoms and provision of psychological, social and spiritual support is paramount. The goal of palliative care is the achievement of the best quality of life for patients and their families. Many aspects of palliative care are also applicable earlier in the course of the illness in conjunction with other treatments.

Generalist palliative care is simply the care of patients nearing the end of their lives and is the responsibility of all healthcare professionals. It is recognising and treating common symptoms at the end of life, such as pain and breathlessness, and referring / working alongside specialists where appropriate.

Specialist palliative care aims to:

  • Affirm life and regard dying as a normal process
  • Provide relief from complex pain and other distressing symptoms
  • Integrate the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care
  • Offer a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death
  • Offer a support system to help the family cope during the patient's illness and in their own bereavement


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