Despite advances in medicine and medical technology, there is a growing population of aging patients with complex health problems who are poorly served by even the best intensive care units. To help these patients, who often have multiple chronic conditions or various complications of acute conditions, hospitals are turning to palliative care, which focuses on symptom management, communication, and other means to improve quality of life for patients and their families.
Palliative care may be delivered in concert with curative or life-prolonging medical care and is not prognosis dependent. These features distinguish it from hospice care, which offers symptom management for patients who are facing a terminal illness and no longer wish to undergo life-prolonging treatments, as well as other kinds of support for these patients and their families.
Kuehn BM. Hospitals Embrace Palliative Care. JAMA. 2007;298(11):1263-1265. doi:10.1001/jama.298.11.1263