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What is Palliative Care and When is it Appropriate

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses, and Summa’s approach to this kind of care is not limited to terminally ill patients. In fact, our patients may be at different stages of illness, from active treatment to recovery to non-curative care. As a result, each care plan is as unique as the individual it is created for.

At Summa, palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and various specialists who work with a patient’s specialty doctors to provide an extra layer of support. This holistic care model focuses on giving patients relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness—whatever the diagnosis—while working to improve the quality of life for both the patient and the family.

Palliative care also works closely with caregivers, who face a tremendous challenge caring for their loved one while trying to balance a work/life schedule that may include taking care of a young child. Our team can help caretakers search for community support resources and provide counseling to help ease the burden.

When is Palliative Care appropriate?

Palliative care is appropriate at any stage in a serious illness, and can be provided together with curative treatment. Hospice is a type of palliative care, which is usually provided in the home. Here, a team of professionals and volunteers provide medical, psychological, emotional and spiritual support to terminally ill patients and their families. In hospice, great emphasis is given to pain and symptom control. Hospice patients usually have less than a year to live.