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About Palliative Care

Palliative care is a holistic approach to active and supportive care for people and their families facing a life-limiting illness. The aim is to prevent and ease suffering, while promoting an excellent quality of life right up until the end of life.

Palliative care is not only for people that are near the end-of-life. It focuses on helping people live well by relieving their symptoms and providing emotional, social and spiritual support when they need it. A person can have palliative care along with their treatment for advanced kidney disease.

If you have questions about your treatment, talk to your healthcare team. It is important that you understand every part of your treatment.

Benefits of Palliative Care

For people with chronic kidney disease, the benefits of palliative care include:

  • help managing symptoms
  • increased quality of life
  • advance care planning, for better end-of-life experiences
  • preventing new issues from happening

Conversations about Goals of Care

When you have chronic kidney disease, it is important to have open and honest conversations with your healthcare providers and your loved ones about your care. You should talk about the nature of your illness, and your wishes, values and beliefs for your care. Your healthcare provider will write down your goals of care and use them when you discuss which treatments you want or do not want. When a healthcare provider offers you treatment, you must give permission for that treatment. You can set any goals you want based on what is important to you (e.g., keep up with your social life, go to your daughter’s wedding or continue working).

The decisions you and your healthcare provider make together become a plan of treatment. This process is called “shared decision-making.”

For more information about palliative care and shared decision-making, talk to your healthcare team. You can use these documents to support your conversation:

Making Decisions About Your Care

Advance Care Planning, Goals Of Care, and Treatment Decisions & Informed Consent