About Palliative Care

What is Palliative Care? (Definition from the World Health Organization)

Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of persons and their families facing the problem associated with life-limiting illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual. Palliative care:

  • Provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms
  • Affirms life and regards dying as a normal process
  • Intends neither to hasten or postpone death
  • Integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of care
  • Offers a support system to help persons live as actively as possible until death
  • Offers a support system to help the family cope during the person’s illness and in their own bereavement
  • Uses a team approach to address the needs of persons and their families, including bereavement counselling, if indicated
  • Will enhance quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness
  • Is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and includes those investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing clinical complications

What is Palliative Medicine?

Palliative Medicine is concerned with the study and advancement, assessment, and medical management of pain, suffering, and quality of life throughout the continuum of life and death for patients with chronic or life-threatening illness, and throughout the bereavement of the patients’ families.