What is Palliative Care?


The Difference Between End of Life Care and Palliative Care

We often get asked: ‘what is palliative care?’. The words ‘palliative care’ and ‘end of life care’ are often used interchangeably, however there is a subtle difference, which can make all the difference when it comes to receiving care.


So, what is palliative care?

Palliative care is ultimately about ensuring you, and your family, have the best quality of life possible. It is the combined care and treatment to help manage physical pain and symptoms. It can also provide emotional, spiritual, social or psychological support for you and those who may be immediately affected. Palliative care also tries to help you and your family come to terms with the dying and bereavement process.

Who is it for?

Palliative care is for people who have a long-term or complex illness or disease that needs specialist attention. Palliative care is also for people with a terminal illness, but not necessarily nearing the end of life.

What is end of life care?

End of life care it is slightly different to palliative care as it concerns the treatment of someone who is in the last stages of their life. This is usually within the final 12 months. However, the term ‘palliative care’ can also encompass end of life treatment.

Where can someone receive palliative or end of life care?

More traditionally, treatment is provided at a hospital or hospice. Care can also be provided to you in the comfort of your own home (this is sometimes referred to as ‘hospice at home’).

Who can provide the care?

Those who provide palliative and end of life care are split into two groups:

  • Specialist medical professionals e.g. palliative care consultants or clinical nurses
  • General day-to-day carers e.g. those providing care to you in your home or at hospital


If you are considering palliative care, but wish to be in the comfort and surroundings of your own home, we are able to provide carers with specialist training to locations throughout the UK.


Click here for more information about other types of care at home we offer, or call us on 01252 852 100.


For more information, the NCPC has an in-depth explanation of what palliative care is.


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