Palliative Care

Palliative care discussion with a patient

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is an extra layer of relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness. It focuses on improving quality of life for patients and their families. The palliative team communicates with your doctor and caregivers to match support with your medical, practical and spiritual needs.

Starting palliative care service—at home or in-facility—does not signal you are giving up hope for recovery. Support can begin at any stage of an illness, with patients moving in and out of care as needed.

Care begins with clear conversations about your most important needs at the moment and your goals for the future. The care team includes you, your family and your doctor to ensure everyone is working on the same plan.

Support includes:

  • Managing symptoms related to the palliative diagnosis
  • Reducing the side effects of medications or treatments
  • Emotional and spiritual support for patients and their families
  • Advance care planning
  • Ensuring care aligns with your values


If you are concerned about complex symptoms related to a serious illness, ask your doctor for a consultation. Medicare and many insurance plans typically cover palliative care consultations.

A focus on managing multiple symptoms

  • Complex pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleep disorders
  • Problems with balance and dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Other symptoms that lead to distress