Palliative Care is an approach incorporated into the overall care people receive when they are living with an illness that cannot be cured, such as dementia, heart failure, motor neurone disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, renal failure or respiratory failure. It aims to empower and support people to live as well as possible for as long as possible.
Palliative care focuses on achieving the best quality of life for the person and those important to them through the prevention and relief of pain and other distressing symptoms as well as providing emotional, social and spiritual support.
It may be provided any time after the diagnosis and could be required for weeks, months or years. Some people may receive palliative care earlier in the course of their illness. In addition, palliative care can be provided alongside other ongoing treatments, if appropriate.
Palliative care also supports people in the last stages of their illness by providing compassionate, personalized care and treatment so that the person has the best quality of life for whatever time is left. Also, it endeavors to ensure that when the time comes, the person receives the care they require to die with dignity and in comfort.
Palliative Care can be provided in different care settings including home, hospitals, care homes or hospices.
It involves all health and social care staff working together to achieve the best possible quality of life for the person and their families / carers, with the agreement of the person, where possible. The staff who provide palliative care fall into two main groups – general palliative care and specialist palliative care. Many people and those important to them have their needs met by generalist palliative care services. Specialist palliative care services are available to support the generalist services when more complex or specialised needs arise. A person and their family may require input from both generalist and specialist palliative care services depending on their needs.
Click the + symbol to find out more or go to our Palliative Care information section.