What are the Different Palliative Care Jobs?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 10 December 2019
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A palliative care program typically revolves around providing care to patients who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Most patients receiving end of life care have been given a relatively specific life expectancy time frame, but those without one will still likely need assistance. The point of most palliative care jobs is to help improve the patient's quality of life, whether through physical, mental or spiritual care.

Many people think of hospice care when they hear about end of life care, but that type of setting is only one small aspect of this field. Hospice patients usually have six months or fewer to live, and this kind of treatment is typically aimed at making terminally ill individuals feel as comfortable as possible. On the other hand, a palliative care practitioner often assists those either with a year or more to live or who have been given no time frame at all. Patients may receive treatment to attempt to prolong their life where possible if they are candidates for a palliative care program.

Palliative care is often known for being available to patients with serious diseases like cancer. Nonetheless, it is possible for patients with other conditions to be treated, as well, such as diabetes, heart disease, or similar issues. In general, most people working in palliative care jobs help organize the care of several doctors, ensuring that the patient receives the best treatment possible.


The palliative care jobs that many people think of immediately include physicians and nurses. Such practitioners are typically expected to have broad knowledge of basic medical issues, the ability to oversee specialists, and some experience in end of life care. Specialists are also often needed within the typical palliative care program, such as anesthesiologists.

Those interested in palliative care jobs without an extensive medical background can usually still get involved. Social workers are often needed to ensure that they encounter few problems both within and outside of the palliative care program. They often need to counsel patients on social, medical, and financial issues, especially before discharging them, or sending them to another practitioner. Office administration is another role within this type of care, usually revolving around keeping medical staff, finances, and general paperwork organized.

Finally, one of the palliative care jobs that many people forget about is a position that deals with the spiritual aspect of end of life care. This is typically called a chaplain, and it involves talking to patients about their spiritual beliefs. It often also requires counseling families during bereavement care after their loved one has passed.



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