Palliative care refers to care given to people who are dealing with life-threatening illnesses. Most of these diseases or conditions cannot be cured and therefore require management of symptoms. Unlike hospice care, which is given after diagnosis, palliative care may begin at the point of diagnosis or treatment and does not only deal with illnesses that inevitably lead to death, according to National Institutes of Health's MedlinePlus.
The main aim of palliative care is to give quality comfort by providing assistance to the patient and treating symptoms associated with a chronic illness. People with diseases and conditions, such as kidney failure, HIV/AIDS, cancer, heart disease, lung disease, Alzheimer's disease and dementia are often given this type of care. There are more than 1,400 hospital palliative care programs in the United States, according to WebMD.
Palliative care encompasses various aspects of life, including spiritual, physical and emotional health. A person with a serious illness may end up facing a lot of challenges with regards to spiritual beliefs, which is why this care deals with the issue.
Some people may end up facing financial and work related complications, which is why this care also has strategies aimed at dealing with these issues. Physical care mainly relate to treatment of complications that affect the human body, while emotional care is aimed at giving moral support to the individual.