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Palliative care is a comprehensive, patient-centered approach to improving the quality of life for people who are living with a serious or potentially life-limiting illness. The main goals of palliative care are to relieve pain and discomfort, and reduce patient and caregiver stress.
Palliative care provides treatment for a person’s symptoms, even if the underlying disease cannot be cured, and can give patients and their caregivers tools to make living with a serious illness more manageable.
Palliative care can be helpful in managing the symptoms of an illness, including:
Palliative care can be provided in many settings, including:
The UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute (PSI) coordinates all of the palliative and supportive care programs and services across the entire UPMC system. Its programs and services are made up of a multidisciplinary team who are specially trained in the area of palliative medicine.
The teams work in close collaboration with a patient’s treating physicians, the patient and his or her family to develop a plan for care. This plan helps provides ways to cope with a serious or life-limiting illness and support, including:
Hospice is a specialized type of palliative care for patients suffering from an incurable illness or multiple illnesses with a life expectancy of six months or less.
Hospice care is focused on:
The multi-disciplined hospice care team can provide care in the home or in a facility such as a:
When a patient receives hospice treatment, attempts to cure the patient's underlying terminal illness are discontinued.
A patient can elect to leave hospice care for any reason, including: