Palliative Care

Palliative care is a special kind of healthcare for people who are living with ongoing illness. The goal of palliative care is to provide the best quality of life for patients with an advanced disease or terminal illness by ensuring their comfort and dignity.

An important aspect of palliative care is the relief of suffering, including pain and other symptoms. Palliative care uses a team approach in order to meet not only physical needs but also the psychological, social, cultural, emotional and spiritual needs of the patient and his or her family.

Palliative care services are available at Springfield Regional Medical Center and through Community Mercy Hospice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can receive palliative care?
How can palliative care help patients, families and caregivers?
Who makes up the palliative care team?
When is the right time for palliative care?
Is palliative care the same as hospice care?


Who can receive palliative care?

Every adult patient with a chronic or life-threatening illness may benefit from palliative care The illness may have appeared suddenly, or it may have been progressing for many years.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Heart (cardiac) disease
  • Lung (pulmonary) disease
  • Renal (kidney) disease
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Severe stroke or other neurological disorders
  • ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease)
  • AIDS
  • Cancer
  • Multi-system organ failure

How can palliative care help patients, families and caregivers?
Palliative care services include:

  • Guidance with difficult treatment choices
  • Emotional and spiritual support
  • Caregiver support

Who makes up the palliative care team?
The team begins with you, your family and your doctors. The team can include nurses trained in palliative care as well as a consulting physician, care manager, social worker, spiritual care chaplain, pharmacist, nutritionist and others who are specially trained to provide care for medical, social, emotional and spiritual needs during this time. The team works closely with your primary care physician to develop a plan of care that respects your personal choices.

When is the right time for palliative care?

Palliative care helps through all stages of chronic illness. It is best introduced early in your care and is provided at the same time as curative treatment?

Is palliative care the same as hospice care?

No. Hospice care is meant specifically for those approaching the last stages of life, while palliative care is appropriate for any stage of a serious illness.