Palliative care means comfort care. In palliative medicine, doctors and nurses focus on treating the symptoms of heart failure and other conditions so that patients can live as comfortably as possible. In heart failure, palliative care may be requested by the doctor when a patient shows signs or symptoms of being at the end of life. Medicines and treatment for heart failure will remain as long as the patient can tolerate the treatments. In addition, a focus on comfort care becomes most important. By focusing on comfort, providers can give the best quality of life possible before death.

A key feature of palliative care is its focus on the patient as well as the family. Chronic illness puts special stress on families, and having support can be very helpful. Talking about and planning for the future can help prepare a person and the person’s family to make the best choices for everyone involved.

What are the benefits of palliative care?

High-quality palliative care can make the difference between a comfortable existence and one that involves much suffering. Palliative care also can help a patient’s loved ones begin to deal with the issues of grief and bereavement.

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 11/30/2010…#14682