Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is palliative care?

Palliative care is a medical sub-speciality which involves active management of patients with advanced progressive illness. It can be given at any age or stage of the illness. It also includes support for the family members.

2. How does palliative care help?

The Palliative care team can treat pain and other symptoms such as fatigue, loss of appetite, breathlessness, swelling etc. In addition, palliative care teams help by giving you emotional support and help to address certain needs and concerns you may have. They can help you define your goals of care by opening communication channels between you and your family members, and clarifying unanswered questions.

3. When will you be referred to palliative care? Does it mean giving up on hope for living?

Palliative care is for any person suffering from an incurable or chronic disease like Cancer, Chronic Renal Failure, COPD, Heart Ailment, neurological diseases, Alzheimer’s etc. Palliative care can be given at any stage of chronic illness. You can be looked after simultaneously by your primary doctor as well as the palliative care specialist. The goal of Palliative care is to make the patient and family comfortable and address issues that are routinely not spoken about like proper treatment, goals of care and helps the patient make the right choices. Palliative care is all about having realistic hope at every stage of the disease. Palliative care also gives an extra layer to the existing team and treatment process.

4. Who gives palliative care?

It is a team approach and includes doctors, nurses, social workers, counsellors and other specialists along with your treating doctor and general physician. They will take care of the physical symptoms as well as handle any emotional distress that the patient or family faces.

5. Where do I get palliative care services?

Palliative care is given in OPDs, in hospitals, in standalone centres or at home. It depends on the choice made by the patient and family members.