Your doctor can provide palliative care. There are also doctors who specialize in this type of care. Often, a whole team of people provide this care. The team may include doctors, nurses, social workers, religious advisors, and others.

Palliative care can be thought of as an extra layer of support if you or your loved one has a serious illness. It helps manage pain, symptoms, and stress of serious illness. It can often work together with the primary treatment you are receiving.

The aim is to provide you or your family member the care that is needed. Many times, care is provided by nurses and doctors. They can help manage your physical pain and symptoms. They can also help you understand your illness and discuss treatment plans.

Social workers, chaplains, and psychologists can help you with emotional pain. They can help you work through negative emotions. They can provide social and spiritual support, as well.

Physical or occupational therapists may be an important part of the team, too. They can provide physical therapy. They can teach you how to carry out your daily activities.

Your doctor may suggest seeing a palliative care specialist if there are:

  • Complex physical symptoms (such as breathing or sleeping problems or nausea)
  • Uncontrolled physical or emotional pain
  • Social or cultural concerns and needs
  • Religious or spiritual concerns and needs
  • Ethical or legal concerns and needs
  • Difficulties in understanding the illness and treatments

Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor about palliative care. You can also find help in your area at