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Palliative Care

Palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is the medical specialty focused on relief of the pain and other symptoms of serious illness. The goal is to prevent and ease suffering and to offer patients and their families the best possible quality of life. It is appropriate at any point in a serious or life threatening illness. It is not dependent on prognosis. It can be provided at the same time as curative and life prolonging treatment.

A palliative care team offers both patient and family members a support structure to address the extreme stresses that come from serious illness. The team acts as a resource for everything from pain management to frustration to providing a shoulder to cry on to interpreting paperwork. In the midst of dire circumstances, palliative care can be a source of calm and information to a family devastated by watching a loved one in crisis while providing skilled care to the patient. In the same vein, a good palliative care team can look after each other through the stress and demands of caring for the patient and family.

MNA Resources on Palliative Care

The resources below may be printed, distribution, and/or used as guides for educational programs on this topic as long as MNA is referenced.

Brochure: Demystifying Palliative Care - Overview of PC in brochure format for nurses as well as laypersons. Main topics include a description of PC, who can get PC, what and who is involved, how it is paid for, how to find local PC, and where to find out more on palliative care.

Palliative Care Reference Card - An illustration of how curative care relates to PC, hospice and bereavement care, as well as when to call for PC.

Palliative Care: An Overview - A power point presentation on palliative care

Palliative Care 101 - Michigan Nurse September/October 2008

Other Links to Palliative Care Information and Continuing Education

Five Wishes
Five Wishes helps you express how you want to be treated if you are seriously ill and unable to speak for yourself. It deals with all of a person's needs: medical, personal, emotional and spiritual.

Hospice and Palliative Care Nurses Association
A unique membership organization with individual membership levels for the Advanced Practitioner, Generalist Nurse, LP/VN, Nursing Assistant and Associate (non-nursing) - HPNA's nursing expertise makes us the authority in the area for the specialty nursing resources, information, and direction.  HPNA supports the nursing team's compassionate work with the patient and their family as they journey through the experience of life-limiting illness.

American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) is the professional organization for physicians specializing in hospice and palliative medicine. Membership is also open to nurses and other healthcare providers who are committed to improving the quality of life of patients and families facing life-threatening or serious conditions. For 20 years, the Academy has dedicated itself to advancing hospice and palliative medicine and improving the care of patients with life- threatening or serious conditions. It is the only organization of its kind in the United States that supports healthcare professionals dedicated to the advancement of practice, research, and education in the field of hospice and palliative medicine.

Center to Advance Palliative Care
The Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) provides health care professionals with the tools, training and technical assistance necessary to start and sustain successful palliative care programs in hospitals and other health care settings. CAPC is a national organization dedicated to increasing the availability of quality palliative care services for people facing serious illness. Direction and technical assistance are provided by Mount Sinai School of Medicine. As the nation's leading resource for palliative care program development, CAPC offers comprehensive training for palliative care programs at every stage - from strategic planning and funding to operations and sustainability. CAPC provides seminars, audio conferences, tools, reference materials, a robust website, and the Palliative Care Leadership Centers™ (PCLC) - a major training and mentoring initiative. It also sponsors Get Palliative Care (see below) a website for patients and families.

Get Palliative Care - a website for patients and families
Provides clear, comprehensive palliative care information for people coping with serious, complex illness. Key components of the site include a Palliative Care Directory of Hospitals, a definition of palliative care, and a detailed description of what palliative care is and how it is different from hospice. It also provides an interactive questionnaire to assist people in determining whether palliative care is appropriate for them or their loved-ones. The site is provided by the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC).