Living with a life-threatening, progressive, or incurable illness can present many challenges for patients and their families. Palliative care is a team approach to medicine focused on preventing or relieving pain and other physical, emotional, and spiritual distress that can accompany a serious illness. It draws on a range of resources and professional expertise and is designed to work in partnership with the patient’s primary treating physician to ensure complete, well-coordinated care.
Palliative care can be provided at any stage of an illness or treatment, regardless of a patient’s life expectancy. Accessing it as early as possible—even upon diagnosis of the condition—can help patients avoid, reduce, or better prepare for difficulties that may result.