An Explanation of Palliative Care
NHPCO uses the National Consensus Project's definition of Palliative care.
Palliative care is patient and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing, and treating suffering. Palliative care throughout the continuum of illness involves addressing physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual needs and to facilitate patient autonomy, access to information and choice.
The following features characterize palliative care philosophy and delivery:
- Care is provided and services are coordinated by an interdisciplinary team;
- Patients, families, palliative and non-palliative health care providers collaborate and communicate about care needs;
- Services are available concurrently with or independent of curative or life-prolonging care;
- Patient and family hopes for peace and dignity are supported throughout the course of illness, during the dying process, and after death