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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Overview of palliative care

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When someone has an advanced disease that limits how much longer they will live, a lot can still be done to prevent suffering, relieve their symptoms and improve the quality of their life. This is called palliative care.

Palliative care involves caring for the whole person, and looking after their physical, emotional, psychological, social, cultural, and spiritual needs. It also involves caring for and helping their loved ones and carers. This means it considers all the issues that affect someone, rather than focusing on just a single part of their treatment or life. Sometimes palliative care is described as holistic care. It involves:

Palliative care is provided wherever the person is. This could be in their home, in hospital or at a community clinic or hospice.

People may receive palliative care for years, months, weeks or days. Whatever the timeframe, palliative care aims to help the person and those caring for them have the best quality of life possible.

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On the next page: Getting help with palliative care

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Contains information adapted from Healthify He Puna Wairoa. Endorsed by Canterbury DHB and community palliative care specialists. Last reviewed November 2020.

Page reference: 35395

Review key: HIPAL-17434