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When To Begin Palliative Care

Palliative care may be given at any time during a person’s illness, from diagnosis on.

A wide variety of patients can benefit from palliative care including:

  • those who have been diagnosed with a complex, serious illness who desire relief from pain or symptoms associated with the disease;
  • those who need to make difficult decisions about how to proceed with care and treatment; and
  • those who need assistance with communication issues related to care and treatment can all benefit from palliative care.

The goal of palliative care is achievement of the best quality of life for patients and their families. Individuals seeking palliative care may have a prognosis beyond six months and may continue to pursue cure-oriented treatment while receiving palliative care services. This approach is intended to allow people with a life-threatening illness earlier access to the same type of care that hospice patients receive.

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