Center to Advance Palliative Care Statement Clarifying the Definition of Palliative Care

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Palliative care is a medical and nursing specialty focused on maximizing quality of life during any and all stages of a serious illness.

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Palliative care is based on patient and family needs, not prognosis.

We at the Center to Advance Palliative Care extend our deepest condolences to the family of former first lady of the United States Barbara Bush.

It has been widely noted in the press that in her final days she opted to discontinue “medical treatment” in favor of what her family termed "comfort care." In several instances this has been discussed in terms of palliative care. But it is important the public properly understand exactly what palliative care is. We therefore wish to clarify the record.

Palliative care is appropriate at any age and at any stage of a serious illness. It can be provided along with curative and life-prolonging treatment, and in any care setting. Palliative care is based on patient and family needs, not prognosis.

Palliative care is a medical and nursing specialty focused on maximizing quality of life during any and all stages of a serious illness. As specialized medical care focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness, the goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.

Patients and their families can learn more about what palliative care is and how to get it at http://www.getpalliativecare.org.

ABOUT CAPC
The Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) is a national, member-based nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the availability of quality palliative care services for people facing serious illness. It provides online training and Designation status in communication skills aimed at clinicians treating serious illness. capc.org

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Lisa Morgan
@CAPCpalliative
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