Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with a serious illness that carries a high risk of mortality or negatively impacts quality of life. This type of care addresses the symptoms and stress of a serious illness, including pain. Palliative care is a team-based approach to care, providing essential support at any age and stage of a serious illness. It can be provided across care settings and along with curative treatment. The goal of palliative care is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the patient's family or care partner.
Palliative care can be delivered by health care professionals who are palliative care specialists, such as physicians who are board certified in this specialty; palliative-certified nurses; and palliative care-certified social workers, pharmacists, and chaplains. Health care professionals who are not palliative care specialists, such as primary care clinicians; physicians who are disease-oriented specialists (such as oncologists and cardiologists); and nurses, social workers, pharmacists, chaplains, can also deliver care but are not certified in palliative care. SOURCE: The Institute of Medicine