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What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care improves the quality of life for patients and families facing serious or chronic illness — whatever the diagnosis or prognosis. A palliative approach adds an extra layer of support by addressing the physical, emotional, psychosocial and spiritual concerns associated with serious and chronic conditions.

The following video of Judith Redwing Keyssar, RN, BA clarifies the definition further. A member of the team working on the development of the CSU Institute for Palliative Care since its inception, she is currently a member of the Institute Steering Community and the Director of the Palliative Care Program at Seniors at Home/Jewish Family and Children's Services of the Bay Area.

What Does Palliative Care Do?

Palliative care:

  • Provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms.
  • Enhances quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness.
  • Integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care.
  • Uses an interdisciplinary team approach to address the needs of patients and their families. This typically includes a physician, nurse, social worker, pharmacist, chaplain and others as needed.
  • Offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible throughout the course of an illness.
  • Offers a support system to help loved ones cope with stress during the patients' illness and in their own bereavement.
  • Is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to cure an illness or prolong life, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgical procedures, etc.
  • Affirms life and regards dying as a normal process.
Critical Palliative Care for Social Workers

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