What Is Palliative Care?
Palliative or supportive care focuses on the physical, psychosocial and spiritual needs and on improving quality of life for patients with serious illness or chronic disease. This coordinated care is delivered by doctors, nurses, social workers and other specialists working together to provide an extra layer of support to the patient and family.
Palliative care benefits people suffering from cancer, cardiac disease such as congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), kidney failure, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and many other serious illnesses or chronic diseases. It is not intended to cure the disease or illness, but rather provides patients with relief from symptoms, pain and stress. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment.
What Is Palliative Care for Cancer Survivors?
Long recognized as an important part of cancer treatment, palliative care helps manage complex pain, symptoms and simultaneous illnesses. The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC) recognizes cancer care programs for providing comprehensive, multidisciplinary patient-centered care, from prevention through survivorship. More than 1,500 CoC-accredited cancer programs operate nationwide. Check the list of hospitals, treatment centers and other accredited facilities.
In Pennsylvania, the 2013-2018 Pennsylvania Cancer Control Plan identifies survivorship and palliative care as priorities for transforming cancer care through current and emerging best practices and clinical guidelines.
Pennsylvania Plan for Oncology Palliative Care
JUST RELEASED! The Pennsylvania Plan for Oncology Palliative Care which is a coordinated effort to improve palliative care programs and services in Pennsylvania.
Resources, Tools and Training
Resources, tools, training, working groups and technical assistance for providers and caregivers are available from the following sources:
Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
The American Cancer Society (ACS)
A Guide to Palliative or Supportive Care
Palliative Care Resources through the American Cancer Society (ACS),
Cancer Action Network (CAN)
George Washington University (GWU)
GWU's Person-Centered Toolkit
The American College of Surgeons (ACoS)
ACoS, Commission on Cancer (CoC)
The Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC)
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO)