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Palliative care is patient and family-centered care that improves the quality of life for those who face a serious, potentially life-limiting condition by addressing the physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual needs throughout the illness.
Palliative care can provide patients relief from symptoms like pain, anxiety, shortness of breath, fatigue and other challenges that are the result of a chronic or serious condition, and the treatments for that condition.
Palliative care supports the patient, and their families.
Palliative care can be provided at any age to someone who has a serious, potentially life-limiting condition. As with adult patients, pediatric and neonatal palliative care can improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Serious, potentially life-limiting conditions can include:
You may want to consider palliative care if you or your loved one:
You may also consider your answers to 5 Questions (PDF). Then make an appointment to talk with your healthcare provider about the desire for you or your loved one to receive palliative care.
A primary goal is to reduce the symptoms and stress of living with your condition. The overall goal is to improve quality of life, which means helping the patient live their life to the fullest they are able.
It is never too early to start palliative care. In fact, palliative care occurs at the same time as all other treatments for your illness and does not depend upon the course of your disease. Palliative Care planning does not have to take long or be difficult. Consider the following questions when planning:
The availability of palliative care in Kansas varies by community. Hospitals, outpatient clinics, nursing facilities and even your home can be locations to receive palliative care.
If you think you or your loved one could benefit from palliative care, speak with your health care provider, get connected through the Kansas Aging and Disability Resource Center or use your zip code with a Palliative Care Provider Directory.
Insurance such as Medicare, Medicaid, and most commercial insurers will cover appointments with related co-payments and deductibles. Call your insurance company to see what they cover.
Palliative care is provided by a team of professionals, including physicians and nursing specialists, social workers, pharmacists, nutritionists, religious or spiritual advisors and others. The team works together to offer:
Both types of care focus on improving quality of life of patient and family through symptom and supportive care. Hospice care is at the end-stage of an illness. Palliative care is available at any stage of a disease. Key differences are explained in our Hospice Versus Palliative Care Flyer (PDF).
Other common palliative care questions are answered in the following 10 Must-Know Truths (PDF).