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Oncology Resources: Palliative Care

Guide to variety of oncology resources for patients and health care professionals

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What is Palliative Care

Palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is specialized medical care for people with serious illness. It focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.

Palliative care is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses, social workers and other specialists who work together with a patient’s doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment. (

For a more visual definition watch this video. [2 min] 

Hospice and Palliative Care

Hospice and Palliative Care

What's the difference?

Hospice care and palliative care are both a method of administering “comfort” care.

 As a supplement to the more “traditional” care options, both hospice and palliative care protocols call for patients to receive a combined approach where medications, day-to-day care, equipment, bereavement counseling, and symptom treatment are administered through a single program. 


Hospice Care is

  • Approved for patients within 6 months of death or with a terminal illness
  • Administered at home by a team of hospice professionals
  • Relies on the family caregiver

Palliative Care is 

  • Approved for patients at any stage of treatment
  • Administered through your hospital or regular medical provider
  • Relies on the Medical Team


Links to Palliative Care sites

Subject Guide

Traci Mays's picture
Traci Mays
WVU Health Sciences Library

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