Health Library

Health Library

Palliative Care for People with Cancer

What is palliative care?

Palliative care is care that makes patients as comfortable as possible and that prevents and relieves suffering. And, although it is part of end-of-life care, it can be applied to care for people in any stage of disease. Palliative care allows for medical therapies, but focuses on:

  • Improving quality of life

  • Reaching the best possible function (for example, daily activities, physical activity, self-care)

  • Helping with decision making about end-of-life care

  • Providing emotional support to patients and their families

Talk with your health care provider or local hospital about whether or not palliative care is available in your area. Check with your health plan to see whether this type of care is covered.

What are the patient's rights?

Patient's rights are a list of rights to ensure that the company, individual, or institution that is providing his or her care will honor the quality of care and decision-making processes. These rights will be given to the patient and family before care begins. It is similar to a contract that provides protection to the patient and family, and informs them of services and limitations of the caregiver(s).

What are palliative care services?

Either in the home, hospital, or a specialized setting, the services most palliative care providers can offer are extensive. The following are some of the services offered:

  • Psychosocial support and intervention to help the patient and family members

  • Equipment for delivery of medications, nutrition, oxygen, and suction

  • Equipment including special beds, toilets, chairs, wheelchairs, and bath requirements

  • Skilled nursing care, doctors, pharmacists, and other specialists

  • Medication and nutrition support

  • Spiritual, religious, and cultural needs or requests

  • Special services for siblings or children (such as, support groups)

  • Respite care allowing the family to rest

  • Bereavement care

Supportive (Palliative) Care for People with Cancer - WellSpan Health

Online Medical Reviewer: Fincannon, Joy, RN, MN
Online Medical Reviewer: Holloway, Beth, RN, MEd
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 2014-02-05T00:00:00
Last Modified Date: 2015-02-13T00:00:00
Posting Date: 2008-11-30T00:00:00
Published Date: 2015-02-26T00:00:00
Last Review Date: 2012-06-04T00:00:00
© 2015 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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