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Palliative Care FAQ: Questions About Palliative Care Services

Palliative care frequently asked questions:

You probably have plenty of questions about palliative care. For instance - what is palliative care and who pays for it? When is palliative care appropriate? The goal of our palliative care program is not just to support the patient but also to answer any questions you may have.

Read our palliative care questions below to learn more.

What is palliative care treatment?

form of medical treatment that manages the pain, symptoms and side-effects of chronic illness. It is important to understand what palliative care is not – it is not hospice care. In fact, palliative services are very different from hospice care in that you can receive support while still pursuing a cure.

What is the goal of palliative care?

The goal of palliative care is to improve quality of life.

When is palliative care appropriate?

Palliative care is available at any stage of a serious illness and can be combined with aggressive treatments. The benefit of palliative care is that palliative experts can work with you to manage pain, symptoms and side-effects while your doctors focus on treatment. 

What types of illnesses is palliative care appropriate for?

This is one of the most common palliative care questions. Palliative care is appropriate for any illness that causes long-term pain and discomfort and/or for a chronic condition that causes periodic symptoms. Some examples of common illnesses for which people seek palliative treatment include:

  • Cancer
  • Heart Disease/CHF
  • Respiratory Disease/COPD
  • Renal Disease/Failure
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Chronic Liver Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Stroke (CVA)
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) 

What Types of Symptoms is Palliative Care Appropriate For?

Some examples of common symptoms for which people seek palliative treatment include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Delirium
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Emotional and/or spiritual distress

Are hospice and palliative care the same thing? How is palliative treatment different?

No. Palliative care is available to you at any stage of a serious illness. You can receive palliative care at the same time you receive treatment meant to cure your illness. Patients on hospice care receive palliative care, however, hospice care focuses on a person’s last months of life. For more information, visit our page on hospice vs. palliative care.

Is palliative care only for terminal people?

Absolutely not. While palliative care is administered as part of hospice care, palliative care is NOT hospice care and can be administered on its own. Palliative care is for chronic illness, not terminal illness. If you, a loved one or a patient of yours suffer from an ongoing or recurring ailment, palliative care can treat symptoms and side-effects to make life better.

What does palliative care treatment entail?

Palliative care entails prescribing medications and recommending therapies and resources to help patients get everything they need to deal with a chronic or life-limiting illness. The palliative care team typically consists of a palliative care physician, nurse practitioner and medical social worker.

Who pays for palliative care? 

Palliative care is often covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance. Every financial situation is different in regard to who pays for hospice care, so we recommend you contact your insurance company to find out about any possible copays or deductibles.

Do you have any additional palliative care questions?  

If you have any additional questions about palliative care services, feel free to call or live chat with one of our experts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.