What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is an interdisciplinary approach to care that aims to improve quality of life and function and relieve suffering for patients and their families. It is the kind of care that should be available to patients of all ages with chronic, severe or life-limiting illnesses independent of their diagnosis or prognosis. It should be provided from the time of diagnosis through the end of life, including bereavement.
Educational initiatives embody humanistic, ethical, and lifespan perspectives for interdisciplinary team-based care. “Caring attitudes” build relationships among professionals, patients and families based on trust, compassion and open communication. A hallmark component of the curricula is the Hospice Patient and Family as Teachers experience. Medical students, as a part of their required family medicine rotation, are linked with a community hospice agency, paired with a hospice patient and make three home visits. For many students this is one of the most powerful experiences of their education.
Through excellence in education, research and service, the mission is to change the culture of health care for all persons who are experiencing chronic and life limiting illness. To create effective partnerships among academic and clinical institutions and community agencies to reduce the burdens, ease suffering, and enhance the meaning of end-of-life care for patients and families.
Evidence shows that when health professionals are well educated in end-of-life care there are improvements in the patient’s quality of life, quality of care, and reductions in costs of care. It is also important to promote self-care among health professionals in order to build a dedicated and effective workforce while reducing burn-out and stress.