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.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/17/2019.

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