Palliative Care FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is palliative care?

Palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is care that focuses on improving the quality of life of people with serious illnesses. It helps them find relief from the symptoms and stress that might be related to having a serious illness. Palliative care also provides support to family and loved ones.

More information on palliative care.

Is palliative care for me?

Palliative care can help anyone with pain, stress, and other symptoms related to a serious illness. Palliative care can be provided at any age and at any time in a serious illness.

What is considered a “serious illness”?

Cardiac disease, respiratory disease, kidney failure, Alzheimer’s, certain cancers, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Parkinson’s are just some examples, but palliative care can help individuals with many other serious illnesses. Ask your doctor if palliative care is right for you.

Who provides palliative care?

Palliative care is delivered by a team of doctors, nurses and other caring people like social workers, chaplains, nutritionists, and pharmacists. The team offers support that focuses on your unique needs.

Can I ask for palliative care while being treated for my illness or disease?

Yes, you can receive palliative care while receiving any treatments that might cure or reverse the effects of an illness.

Where can I receive palliative care?

You can receive palliative care in many different places. In addition to your home, you may receive palliative care in:

  • Hospitals with palliative care teams
  • Outpatient palliative care clinics
  • Long-term care facilities, including assisted-living
  • Cancer centers

More information on where palliative care is provided.

What types of services can I expect from palliative care?

Working with your doctor to find ways to be as comfortable and independent as you would like to be.

  • Talking with doctors and nurses to learn how to manage your illness;
  • Meeting with a social worker to find ways to talk with family members or loved ones about your illness;
  • Talking with the team to create a plan that is built on your values and wishes;
  • Receiving massage or music therapy from certified therapists to help with pain and stress;
  • Finding resources that guide you to financial and legal help, if needed.

How can palliative care help me and my family?

The goal of palliative care is to help you and your family feel better. The palliative care team cares for more than just your physical needs. The team works with you, your doctor, and your family to:

  • Provide relief from pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, depression, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping;
  • Provide emotional, spiritual, or religious support to you and your loved ones;
  • Help you and your loved ones understand your condition and your choices
    for care;
  • Help you create a treatment plan that meets your values and wishes;
  • Help you understand and work within the health system.

Who pays for palliative care?

Medicare Part B and Medicaid offer some coverage for palliative care benefits. So do some private insurance plans. Make sure to check with your insurance. The palliative care team can help you with financial questions or concerns.

More information on paying for palliative care.

How can I get palliative care?

Ask! Talk with your doctor and let them know that you want to learn more about palliative care. Contact MNHPC if you would like assistance finding palliative
care services.