What is Palliative Care?

Palliative Care is specialized care focused on the pain, symptoms and stress of serious illness. It may begin at the time of a diagnosis and continue throughout the course of a serious illness. Palliative care is designed to meet each patient's individual needs with the help of a specialized palliative care team that includes: doctors, nurses, social workers, home health aides, spiritual advisors and therapists.

The goal of the Palliative Care Team is to:

  • Reduce pain and discomfort
  • Improve the quality of your life and your ability to do your daily activities
  • Provide emotional support
  • Help with long-term planning

The kind of care you get depends on what you need. Your goals guide your care. Palliative care can help reduce pain or treatment side effects. The palliative care team may help you and your loved ones better understand your illness, talk more openly about your feelings, or decide what treatment you want or do not want. It can also make sure your doctors, nurses, and loved ones understand your goals and are "on the same page."

Receiving palliative care does not mean you are giving up. In fact, most patients receiving palliative care are also continuing aggressive medical treatment for their illness. Palliative care focuses on improving your quality of life – not just in your body, but also in your mind and spirit.

The Palliative Care Setting

You can receive hospice and palliative care in your home, the hospital, the doctor’s office, or in assisted living.

Admission To The Palliative Care Program

Anyone can make a referral: you, your doctor, or a concerned loved one.

What is Palliative Care?

The word "palliative" has roots in the Latin verb meaning "to cloak or protect." The members of the palliative care team at Middlesex Hospital understand the critical decisions patients and families are faced with when dealing with a serious illness. The goal of palliative care is to assist the patient and their families with these decisions while providing maximum physical comfort and emotional support.

Palliative Care Services include:

  • Pain and symptom control, psychosocial support to patients and families
  • Patient education about self-determination and advance directives
  • Negotiating end-of-life decisions
  • Helping patients and loved ones understand and cope with the process of dying
  • Caregiver support group

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