Resource Guide for Family Caregivers
What is palliative care?

Palliative care comes from the word palliate, which means to ease the pain or force of (disease) without curing it. Hospice palliative care simply means that such care takes place in a location that is set up specifically to care for the physical and emotional needs of terminally ill patients. It is a term used to describe the holistic, interdisciplinary approach to the needs of dying persons and their families.

Hospice or palliative care are terms usually associated with end-of-life care when someone is terminally ill. However, palliative care principles may apply in care for those other than the imminently dying. One aspect of palliative care is palliation. Palliation refers to the use of one or more specific (medical) interventions or treatments to bring about the relief of certain symptoms. So, for example, someone experiencing chronic long-term pain but not necessarily suffering from a terminal illness may need or benefit from a palliative approach that helps with the chronic long-term pain.