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What is a Palliative Care Center?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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A palliative care center is a medical facility which provides people with palliative care, on an inpatient or outpatient basis. The goal of palliative care is to reduce suffering by addressing issues such as pain, nausea, and discomfort. A palliative care center improves the quality of life for a patient by keeping her or him comfortable, and addressing concerns which may not be directly related to the treatment of a disease. For example, treating pain in cancer patients will not cure the cancer, but it will make the patient happier, and some studies seem to suggest that pain reduction can make patients stronger and help them fight an illness more effectively.

Some people confuse palliative care and hospice care. Hospice care, which can include palliative care, is provided to patients who are dying. End of life care in hospice is focused on keeping patients comfortable, and minimizing interventions which could prolong life. Palliative care is provided independent of diagnosis: whether someone is dying or suffering from a broken leg, palliative care can be beneficial.

In a palliative care center, the staff specialize in providing palliative care to patients. This can include the administration of pain management medications which reduce pain, but it also includes treatment for nausea, difficulty breathing, generalized discomfort, dermatitis caused by medications, and so forth. Palliative care can also include psychotherapy to help patients stay calm and relaxed, physical therapy to build strength and fight pain, massage to ease muscle aches and pains, and other types of interventions which will improve quality of life.

For people in severe pain who have serious illnesses or are in the process of dying, palliative care may be provided on an inpatient basis, with the patient staying in a palliative care center for treatment. Inpatient care also includes monitoring by nurses and other medical staffers who can identify and treatment medical problems in the patient. Palliative care can also be provided at home by a visiting nurse or someone who accompanies the patient at all times.

For people who do not require hospitalization, a palliative care center can provide interventions on an outpatient basis. This can include consultations with a doctor or nurse about pain management, therapy sessions, infusion sessions, and other types of procedures which can keep a patient comfortable while he or she is fighting an illness or injury, or is in the process of dying. The palliative care center can also provide respite care for friends and family members who may appreciate an opportunity to take some time off from the physically and emotionally draining process of caring for someone who is ill, injured, or dying.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Read more
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