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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Palliative Care

What is palliative care?

Palliative care is a multidisciplinary medical specialty that is focused on relieving physical symptoms (such as nausea or pain) and reducing psychological symptoms (such as depression or anxiety). These symptoms may occur during the course of treatment for a disease or may be side effects of a treatment. Palliative care is applicable at any stage of illness. It can be part of your treatment plan when you are receiving curative or life-prolonging therapies or when curative therapies are no longer an option. The goal of palliative care is to prevent or relieve your symptoms, make you comfortable, and improve your quality of life.

What is the difference between palliative and hospice care?

Hospice care is available for patients at the end of life when curative or life-prolonging therapy is no longer indicated. Hospice care includes palliative care treatment.

Internet Resources

MedlinePlus: Palliative Care
Developed at the National Library of Medicine specifically for consumers, this site is a portal for trusted health information from both government-sponsored and privately developed health information for the lay public.

Center to Advance Palliative Care: Is Palliative Care Right for You?
Quick assessment tool helps you decide whether to talk with your doctor about palliative care for yourself or a loved one.

American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
This website has a variety of topics regarding palliative care, including the video link in the lower left-hand corner of the home page “You’re Sick. It’s Serious.”

Palliative Care at Northwestern Memorial Hospital
An interdisciplinary palliative care team is available at NMH to assist patients and families facing serious illness. The team will work with your primary physicians and specialists to assure that you receive symptom relief.


  • Palliative Care: a primer. Litruvis E, Smith CB. Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine. 78(4):627-31. 2011 Jul-Aug


  • Diet and nutrition in palliative care. Preedy VR, ed. 2011.
  • Living with aging and dying: palliative and end of life care for older people. Gott M and Ingleton C, ed. 2011
  • Oxford textbook of palliative medicine. Hanks G. et al., eds. 2009.
  • Managing pain before it manages you. Caudill MA. 2009.
  • Yoga for pain relief. McGonigal K. 2009.
  • Gale encyclopedia of medicine. Longe JL, ed. 2011. Available in print at the Health Learning Center or electronically at http://www.nmh.org/nm/health+library+virtual+library.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the Health Learning Center at 312.926.5465 or HLC@nmh.org.

Last UpdateJanuary 30, 2012