Palliative Care

Treatment of the discomfort, symptoms, and psychological stress associated with serious illness.

Some people confuse palliative care with end-of-life care. Yet palliative care can be offered to anyone with a serious chronic condition such as HIV, cystic fibrosis, cancer, or heart disease. Palliative care can address such issues as pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, and insomnia. It may also include help in gaining access to community services, obtaining affordable health care and home health services, and generally improving a person’s quality of life.

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Increasingly, the medical community is recognizing the benefits of palliative care for end-stage kidney disease. Kidney transplantation is not an option for many people, who as a result require long-term dialysis. People receiving dialysis may experience pain, depression, and cognitive impairment. Palliative care involves discussion of the person’s current condition and prognosis, explanation of treatment options, and assessment and management of distressing symptoms.

Want to learn more about maintaining quality of life? Read “Keeping Your Quality of Life With Diabetes.”