Palliative Care

Click HERE to read the new Idaho Quality of Life Coalition Palliative Care Brochure.  Click HERE to watch world-famous author, speaker and Palliative Care doctor Ira Byock talk about the future of palliative care- filmed in Sun Valley.

You may have heard of a new medical term – palliative care (pronounced PAH-LEE-UH-TIVE). For the last thirty years, palliative care has been provided by hospice programs for dying Americans. Currently these programs serve more than 1.2 million patients and their families each year. Now this very same approach to care is being used by other healthcare providers, including teams in hospitals, nursing facilities and home health agencies in combination with other medical treatments to help people who are seriously ill.

To palliate means to make comfortable by treating a person’s symptoms from an illness. Hospice and palliative care both focus on helping a person be comfortable by addressing issues causing physical or emotional pain, or suffering. Hospice and other palliative care providers have teams of people working together to provide care. The goals of palliative care are to improve the quality of a seriously ill person’s life and to support that person and their family during and after treatment.

Hospice focuses on relieving symptoms and supporting patients with a life expectancy of months not years, and their families. However, palliative care may be given at any time during a person’s illness, from diagnosis on. Most hospices have a set of defined services, team members and rules and regulations. Some hospices provide palliative care as a separate program or service, which can be very confusing. The list of questions below provides answers to common questions about the difference between hospice and palliative care.

Palliative Care more Information

* Information provided by NHPCO's Caring Connections.

World Health Organization Definition of Palliative Care

Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problemsundefinedphysical, psychosocial and spiritual. Palliative care:

  • Provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms
  • Affirms life and regards dying as a normal process
  • Intends neither to hasten or postpone death
  • Integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care
  • Offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death
  • Offers a support system to help the family cope during the patients illness and in their own bereavement
  • Uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement counseling, if indicated
  • Will enhance quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness
  • 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, and includes those investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing clinical complications.

Last Acts Task Forces on Palliative Care and the Family

The Five Principles of Palliative Care are a vision for better care at the end of life. They were developed for people who are dying, their families, and their loved ones by the Last Acts Task Forces on Palliative Care and the Family. The goal of palliative care is to achieve the best quality of life for patients and their families. The principles describe what care can and should be like for everyone facing the end of life. Some of these ideas may seem simple or just common sense. But all together they give a new and more complete way to look at care at the end of life. Many hospitals and medical centers are offering palliative care programs. Ask for information about palliative care programs in your area from your doctor, nurse and other members of your care team. Complete article and resources available at Elder Care On Line.

If you have more questions contact us at (208) 841-1862.  Join the Idaho Quality of Life Coalition today!