Palliative Care
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What is palliative care?

Palliative care is a team-based system of care that provides relief of symptoms associated with serious illness. Whatever your diagnosis, palliative care can help if you are suffering from chronic pain, stress, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping and an overall decreased quality of life. It helps you gain the strength to carry on with daily life and helps you have more control over your care by better understanding your choices for treatment options.

Palliative care provides medical treatment and supportive care from a dedicated team of doctors, nurses and specialists who work with your primary care physician to help you manage multiple concerns including pain, healthcare navigation and medication management.

Palliative care is often confused with hospice — which is non-curative care administered at the end of life. Unlike hospice, palliative care is appropriate for anyone at any stage of a serious illness. You may be receiving treatment to cure your illness, and still benefit from palliative care to mitigate the symptoms and side effects of your disease or your treatment. The point of palliative care is to relieve suffering and provide the best possible quality of life for the patient and their family.

How can palliative care help you?

At Anne Arundel Medical Center, our palliative care specialists work with patients suffering from serious and chronic illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Alzheimer’s, dementia, effects of stroke and other serious conditions.

Our team of physicians, nurses, and social workers will work with you and your primary care physician, as well as your family and caregivers, to create an individual care plan which works for you. We will facilitate communication with your overall care team and help you understand the options of treatment and care available to you and your family.

If you are suffering pain, stress, or isolation due to a serious illness, you should discuss palliative care with your physician.

What is hospice?

Hospice is a special type of health care focused on keeping a patient comfortable once the patient and physician have decided that the underlying disease can no longer be treated or cured. Hospice care helps the patient, their families, and other caregivers and can occur in a variety of settings. It neither hastens nor postpones death and is focused on the belief that quality of life is as important as length of life. Hospice programs help manage pain and symptoms and provide emotional and spiritual support so patients can make the most of each day.

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