Care That Comforts, and May Extend Life Expectancy

For palliative care specialists at UChicago Medicine, improving quality of life is at the forefront while treating patients suffering from pain, discomfort and emotional distress during a serious illness.

Not only can palliative or comfort care relieve symptoms, it may even extend a patient's life expectancy.

Palliative Care

Palliative care is not hospice care. Palliative care is specialized care focused on comforting and relieving any distressing symptoms related to terminal or chronic illness.

The goal of palliative care is to relieve suffering and provide relief for symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, nausea, difficulty sleeping and anxiety.

Palliative care is also concerned with providing the best possible quality of life for people at any age and at any phase of an illness. Such care can be provided along with treatments that are meant to cure a person's disease.

Our palliative care offers a holistic approach to managing illness including physical, psycho-social, spiritual and advanced decision-making services.

Our holistic care program can be delivered in the home, hospital, long-term facility or nursing home. To provide the best customized plan of care, the palliative care advanced practice nurse works collaboratively with the patient's medical team to support both patients and their families as they make decisions that are consistent with their goals of care. The palliative care team works with a patient's attending physician to support the patient and their family as they make decisions that are consistent with their goals of care and accommodate their needs.

Palliative care also supports the patient's family and educates them on the importance of reporting any changes in their loved one's health or behavior. They teach family members how to keep their loved one safe and help them cope and offer suggestions on community resources.