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What kinds of services can a palliative-care team provide?

Teams typically include physicians and nurses as well as chaplains, social workers and other allied professionals on an as-needed basis. In terms of what they address, certainly pain is a very common symptom and an important part of palliative care, but not everyone, even at the end stage of a disease, has pain. From the physical perspective, palliative-care teams also manage fatigue, nausea, constipation, dehydration, non-healing skin sores, shortness of breath and dry mouth, to name a few.

It’s not just physical symptoms, though. There is also anxiety, depression and confusion. We manage psychological distress, which can simply mean providing assistance in coping with the stresses and demands of the situation. And palliative care also addresses existential or spiritual distress—whatever, for the individual, it means to be facing off with his or her mortality.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.