Palliative care is an approach to the holistic care of patients, including family and caregivers, to improve the quality of their lives after the diagnosis of a chronic debilitating disease or life-limiting illness that may cause a host of complaints.
Palliative care can begin at diagnosis and continue to be offered while the patient is continuing active treatment through different phases of their life limiting condition. Palliative care is for any patient with a chronic illness who is experiencing a decreased quality of life because of symptoms related to their illness or treatment, like renal dialysis, oxygen therapy or chemotherapy. The care is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other specialists who work together to provide an extra layer of support to the patient and their caregivers.
Palliative care can help in symptom control including not only pain, but nausea, weakness, shortness of breath, fatigue and weight loss at any time during their diseases, not only at the end of life.