Programs that provide for the comprehensive management of the physical, psychological, social, spiritual and existential needs of patients with the objective of helping them achieve the best possible quality of life through relief of suffering, control of symptoms and restoration of functional capacity while remaining sensitive to personal, cultural and religious values, beliefs and practices. The focus of palliative care is on people with incurable, progressive illnesses who are in the early stages of their illness. Palliative care may be provided in a wide variety of health care settings including hospitals, nursing facilities, hospice facilities and the person's own home; and may be coordinated with other services including curative therapies.
Programs that provide emotional support, information and guidance for individuals and families who are dealing with the reality of impending death and the stress; the intense feelings of depression, anger, anxiety, fear, guilt and grief; and the resultant strain on family and friendship relationships that arise when an individual is in the terminal stages of an illness.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.