People diagnosed with serious, long or life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, AIDS, chronic lung disease, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's are good candidates for palliative care, notes WebMD. People who have other serious diseases that lead to multiple hospital stays or emergency room visits can also benefit from palliative care.
The main goals of palliative care are to provide a patient with relief from the symptoms of her illness and to provide relief from the side effects of medications she takes to treat her condition, states WebMD. Counseling, spiritual comfort and other things that can improve a patient's quality of life are also aspects of palliative care, and a palliative care team might consist of people such as doctors, nurses, spiritual advisers, social workers and pharmacists. People who choose to receive palliative care in their homes can do so in conjunction with the care they are receiving from their regular doctors.
A patient can choose to accept palliative care at any point in her illness and may benefit from receiving that care earlier rather than later in the stages of illness, notes WebMD. Family members and other caregivers can also benefit when a patient receives palliative care in the home. Palliative care team members educate caregivers about a patient's illness, offer emotional and spiritual support, and take care of chores such as shopping and meal preparation to give caregivers some time off.