Palliative care is a healthcare team which supports patients through their journey of serious illness. Working with the patient palliative care team help to set up realistic goals of care based on what is important to the patient. Palliative care is provided by a compassionate multi-disciplinary team which can include doctor, clinical nurse, social worker, nutritionist, physical therapist, chaplain and pain service.

Dr. Adil Akhtar is an Oncologist and Palliative Care Expert based in Detroit.  His program in home-based palliative care is nationally recognized.  Dr. Akhtar is available to provide commentary on his years of work in palliative care with cancer patients.  

Palliative care is treatment aimed at relieving the symptoms associated with illnesses and improving a patient’s quality of life.  Palliative care is a holistic approach to the patient’s symptoms management which addresses their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Palliative care focuses primarily on anticipating, preventing, diagnosing, and treating symptoms experienced by patients; in addition, palliative care helps both patients and their families make medically important decisions. 

“Palliative care is not the end-of-life care, but it supports the patients at every stage of illness, even when a curative treatment has been provided,” Dr. Akhtar said. For example, cancer patients receiving curative chemotherapy who are having side effects, can be helped by the palliative care. In serious illness, studies have shown early engagement with palliative care improves the quality life and outcomes. Palliative care experts and doctors work hand in hand to provide the best care possible for the patient – and their families as well.”

Goals of palliative care:

  • Help and support the patients throughout their disease process
  • Provide holistic approach to the patient care
  • Improve quality of life by supportive care and symptom management
  • Manage pain to make patients comfortable
  • Taking care of patient’s spiritual and emotional well-being
  • Improve communication between the healthcare team and the patient and their families
  • Allow patients and caregivers to understand and express their feelings at the most difficult times.