Palliative care seeks to improve the quality of life for patients facing serious illnesses by helping with a variety of areas, such as alleviation of physical symptoms or emotional assistance. Support is provided by a focus on expert symptom management and developing an understanding of care from the patient’s perspective.
It is important to remember that palliative care is not the same as hospice care. Although hospice care employs palliative care methods of symptom alleviation, hospice specifically is end-of-life treatment intended for those with six or less months to live. Palliative care consultation is appropriate for patients in all stages of cancer treatment, starting from the time of diagnosis. It is often provided while patients are receiving curative chemotherapy. The aim is to provide an extra layer of support to patients as they deal with the complexities of managing life with cancer.