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The palliative care experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center are uniquely trained to work with patients who have life-threatening illnesses to help manage symptoms, relieve pain, and improve quality of life throughout treatment.
Improving Quality of Life for Patients with Serious Illnesses
Palliative care provides specialized care to people living with serious illnesses, such as end-stage organ failure and all types of cancer. Palliative care focuses on relieving symptoms and stress while improving the quality of life for patients and their families.
Palliative care can help manage symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, depression, and anxiety. Many cancer treatments – such as chemotherapy and radiation – can cause side effects, and palliative care helps address those, too.
At UT Southwestern, palliative care patients also receive advice about making difficult medical decisions as well as assistance with coordination of care across health care settings. We work with a patient’s specialists to develop a long-term symptom management plan.
When to Start Palliative Care
Palliative care can start the moment a patient is diagnosed with a serious or life-threatening illness. We work continuously alongside the patient, family, and medical team. As patients pursue therapies and interventions, we’re there to provide support. Once a patient begins working with our palliative care team, he or she has access to our on-call services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
While palliative care is appropriate for all periods of a serious illness, the biggest benefits have been shown in patients who begin care early. An early start to palliative care can result in patients living longer with a higher quality of life.
Palliative care is not the same as hospice care, but if hospice care is needed (typically when a patient’s prognosis is estimated to be six months or fewer), palliative care can help with that transition as well.
The palliative medicine team at UT Southwestern works with patients hospitalized at William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital and Zale Lipshy Pavilion – William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital. The team also sees outpatients at Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center.
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