Palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is specialized medical care for people living with a serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.

Palliative care is provided by a specially trained team of palliative care physicians, nurses, and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and it can be provided along with curative treatment.

It is important to note that palliative care is based on need, not prognosis.

Patients and families can learn more by visiting CAPC’s patient and family website, This site contains everything patients and families need to know, including:

  • A national Provider Directory, searchable by care setting, city, state, and zip code
  • A clear, evidence-based definition of palliative care; a five-question self-assessment to understand if palliative care is right for you; information on how to get palliative care; and tips on how to talk to your doctor and ask for a referral
  • Disease-specific articles
  • Patient-centered blog
  • Real patient stories through the free podcast series, A Quality Life
  • A downloadable handout titled “Palliative Care: What You Should Know”, available in English and Spanish

Patients and families can learn about palliative care and access the national Palliative Care Provider Directory.


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