What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is a type of specialized medical care that is focused on relieving the physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering of those with life-limiting illnesses. The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for both the patient and their family by relieving symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, and difficulty sleeping. Palliative care also provides emotional and spiritual support for both the patient and their family during this difficult time. While palliative care can start at any point during an illness, it’s important to know when it might be beneficial for someone to receive this type of care.

The Benefits of Palliative Care

The most obvious benefit of palliative care is that it helps relieve physical symptoms such as pain and discomfort. However, it also provides emotional support for both the patient and their family by providing them with a sense of comfort in knowing they are being taken care of with compassion by experienced professionals.

Additionally, palliative care can help extend life expectancy, allowing patients more quality time with family members while managing physical symptoms so they can focus on enjoying each other’s company as much as possible.

When is it Time to Start Thinking About Palliative Care?

There isn’t necessarily a set timeline for when someone should begin palliative care. However, if you or your loved one are experiencing significant levels of pain, difficulty sleeping due to shortness of breath or other symptoms related to an illness that cannot be cured, it’s important to consider talking to your doctor about palliative care options. Your doctor will be able to assess whether or not this type of treatment is appropriate for you or your loved one’s situation and refer you accordingly, if needed.

What To Do If You Think Someone Might Need Palliative Care

If you think someone might need palliative care, it’s important to talk openly and honestly about it right away; don’t wait until the last minute as this could create stress or confusion in the long run. Talking about end-of-life issues can be uncomfortable but having these conversations early on will make sure everyone involved understands what needs to happen in order for the individual to get the best possible care at this time in their life.

How To Talk To Your Loved Ones About Palliative Care

It can be scary to start a discussion about something as serious as palliative care. No matter how uncomfortable it may seem at first – talking about end-of-life issues is important for everyone involved in order for them to get through this difficult situation together as a family. 

7 Tips to Help Guide Discussions About Palliative Care

  1. Begin by ensuring your loved one feels comfortable and that everyone understands this discussion is to share concerns about their comfort and wellbeing. 
  2. Never begin a conversation about palliative care out of the blue or during an emotional event. 
  3. Assuming your loved one (whose care is being discussed) is cognitively capable, ask them if they have concerns of their own and what issues they feel are the most important to address as a priority.  
  4. Take note either mentally or make a list together. You may be surprised they are concerned about the same things. 
  5. Gently address the concerns that you feel are important as well and add them to the list. 
  6. You can work together to discuss ways to solve the concerns, remembering that it is imperative to maintain honesty and transparency, but also be sure to provide reassurance that everything will be done according to their wishes. 
  7. At this time, it is likely that palliative care services will become a vital part of the discussion. 


When faced with an advanced or terminal illness, many individuals feel overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty about what comes next – which is why understanding what palliative care entails is so important. This type of medical treatment provides physical comfort as well as emotional support for both patients and their families throughout difficult times. If you think someone may benefit from palliative care services, talking openly about it as soon as possible will help ensure that they receive the best possible level of treatment tailored specifically for them and their situation. The earlier these conversations take place, the better!

About Cardinal Hospice

If you or your loved one qualify for palliative care, you need a care provider you can trust that offers great care to increase the quality of life for your remaining time. At Cardinal Hospice, we provide the best possible care to patients and their families experiencing life-limiting conditions. We believe the end of life deserves as much recognition as the beginning. Our clients choose us for our highest quality end-of-life care to patients experiencing a life-limiting condition. For more information, call on (989)401-8033 or (248)572-6690, write to [email protected], or fill out the patient referral form.