Any patient diagnosed with a serious illness and/or the patient's family may be eligible for assistance from the supportive and palliative care team. It is important to note that although the patient in need of this service may have serious, life-limiting illness, they may or may not be considered terminally or irreversibly ill.
Supportive and palliative care is not the same as hospice. Patients seen by palliative care specialists are often also receiving treatments designed to fight serious illness. One of the best ways to palliate (relieve) symptoms is to improve the primary disease.
Palliative treatments may be used to replace primary disease treatments that may not be working or as a bridge to hospice services.
The Supportive and Palliative care team include:
The palliative and supportive care team may vary depending on the individual patient, their specific needs and where they are located. Team members are specially trained to meet the specific goals of the palliative care patient.
Supportive and palliative care consultation has many proven benefits that include:
In a study at one of the nation's top hospitals, palliative care consultation commenced when a patient was first diagnosed with cancer that had spread to other parts of the body. Palliative care not only provided aid for symptom control but significantly increased the length and quality of life of the patient compared to others who did not receive palliative care consultation.