What is Palliative Care?
Palliative Care is specialized care that focuses on patients who are facing life-threatening or life-limiting illness or injury. The primary goal of palliative care is to provide expertise and treatment plans for symptom management, helping to identify patients' goals for their care, and to provide spiritual and emotional support while considering the whole patient and their situation. It is not just for the patient who is at the end of life. The Vanderbilt Palliative Care team offers services such as:
- Providing relief from pain and other physical symptoms
- Improving quality of life
- Providing support to the seriously ill and the family and friends who love and care for them
- Assisting the patient, family and staff with difficult medical decision-making
Patient and Family Support
This is a stressful time for many family members. We provide spiritual and emotional counseling to help people cope with family dynamics. We can also help with communication when there are cultural or ethical challenges.
Our team is able to provide a plan that will help manage advanced symptoms for patients facing life-threatening illnesses or injury.
Physicians may ask the Palliative Care team to visit with you while you are a patient in the hospital. The palliative care team is called to help patients with pain and symptom management, to assist with understanding the goals of your care, to provide patient and family support, to assist with advance care planning for patients who have a life-threatening condition, and to give hospice information or arrange these services when needed. The palliative care team assists with these services even while patients are still receiving the routine care that is provided by their primary care team.
With palliative care, patients partner with our experienced team to determine the best options for managing their specific symptoms. Our specialists meet with each patient to discuss their expectations and goals for treatment as well as their personal values and priorities. Palliative care works as a complimentary supplement to a patient's usual medical treatment and is available to patients at any stage of illness to help manage symptoms of their treatment.