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Center for Professional Practice of Nursing

Center for Professional Practice of Nursing

Palliative Care

An approach which improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing life-threatening and/or chronic illness, through the prevention, assessment, and treatment of pain and other physical, psychosocial, and spiritual problems.

The goal of palliative care is to prevent and relieve suffering and to support the best possible quality of life for patients and their families, regardless of the stage of the disease or the need for other therapies. Palliative care is both a philosophy of care and an organized, highly structured system for delivering care. Palliative care expands traditional disease-model medical treatments to include the goals of enhancing quality of life for patients and families, optimizing function, helping with decision-making and providing opportunities for personal growth. As such, it can be delivered concurrently with life-prolonging care or as the main focus of care.
World Health Organization, 2002