"It aims to address holistic comprehensive care, particularly aimed at people who have very serious complicated illnesses," said Dr. Elizabeth McInerney, Palliative Care Services Director at Mercy Medical Center.
Palliative care is the medical specialty that addresses relief of pain, symptoms, and stress of a serious illness.
"We go in, and we try to make sure- number one, that everyone is communicating with one another, that in truth, the patient and the family and all of the different disciplines looking after the family are all understanding and on the same page together, so that there is a coherent plan of care," adds Dr. McInerney. "We help the patient and the family overcome some of the really serious burdens of a serious, complicated illness."
Those burdens can include anxiety, depression, and financial burdens, among other things.
Palliative care is aimed not only to help the patients, but their care-givers as well.
"The caregivers can sometimes become so over-burdened that they themselves, can become patients themselves," says Dr. McInerney.
One common misconception of Palliative care, is that it is only for older patients, or those in Hospice.
Dr. McInerney says that they help patients of all ages, and all stages.
"If you see one Palliative consult, you've seen one Palliative consult," says Dr. McInerney. "Because absolutely every single time we walk into a room, this is an entirely different situation- there's no cookie cutters in Palliative medicine."
The goal, is to have the highest quality of life possible.