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Here at UF Health we carefully evaluate each person as a whole and unique individual, then develop a comprehensive treatment plan based on the patient’s goals of care to relieve physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering. Our overall goal is to improve and enhance the quality of life for patients and their families, so they can live each day to the fullest.
What is palliative care?
Palliative care, also known as supportive care, comes from the Latin root pallium, which refers to an outer garment that cloaks a person. Palliative care “cloaks” the symptoms of illness, adding quality of life to each day. Palliative care is delivered by an interdisciplinary team, including a patient’s individual physician, palliative care physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, social workers, chaplains, psychologists, and pharmacists, palliative care is designed to help patients diagnosed with serious and life-limiting illness.
Palliative care is different from Hospice care, as it is appropriate at any age, from pediatrics to geriatrics, and at any stage of a serious illness. It can be used in conjunction with curative treatment such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Hospice is appropriate when a person is diagnosed with a terminal condition and their life expectancy is less than 6 months, and the person has no further curative options or chooses to not pursue treatment.
UF Health has adopted the World Health Organization definition and mission of palliative care delivery. Our goals include:
- Providing relief from pain and suffering by aggressive treatment of distressing symptoms including pain, shortness of breath, nausea, fatigue, insomnia, and constipation.
- Offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death by increasing function with physical and occupational therapy.
- Assist with goals of care planning including assisting patient in completion of Advance Directives.
- Integrates the patient’s spiritual and religious beliefs into their health care with the support of chaplains and priest.
- Integrates psychological and mental health support from social workers and trained psychologists and psychiatrists.
- Offer UF Health Integrative Medicine consultation to utilize techniques associated with complementary and alternative medications such as herbal medication, mind and body connection with therapies such as acupuncture, massage, yoga, and meditation.
- Offer UF Health Shands Art in Medicine consultation for patients to enjoy art, music, life journaling or to use art to express their illness and connect them to their families and health care providers to improve quality of life.