For People Living with a Serious Illness, and Those Close to Them

Get more information about palliative care, advance care planning, and community resources

What is Palliative Care?

The term "Palliative Care" (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) comes from the word "palliate" which means to alleviate or reduce suffering.

Palliative Care is specialized medical care for people living with a serious illness.

  • The goal is to improve quality of life for the person living with the illness and those close to them.
  • It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness. It can be provided with treatments meant to cure the illness.  
  • Care focuses on relief of symptoms and stress.
  • A specially-trained team of palliative care doctors, nurses, and other specialists work together with a patient's other doctors to give an extra and layer of support
  • The palliative care team's focus is on the needs of the  person living with the illness and their loved ones.



What We Do

In palliative care, we see the person, not just the disease. We give care to to the people living with a serious illness as well as those close to them such as family, friends, and caregivers.

We provide holistic, or "whole person," care. This care includes the body (physical symptoms), mind (psychological distress), spirit (existential or spiritual concerns), and everyday parts of life.

 We offer office- and telehealth-based visits with a team of doctors, nurses, social workers, and spiritual care providers. We work with your other doctors to help you live as well as you can.

More Services

  • Care to ease pain, stress, and other symptoms (like nausea, shortness of breath, constipation, depression, anxiety, or spiritual & existential needs)
  • Care that focuses on your desires, values, and goals
  • Work with your other doctors and care team
  • Time to talk about you, your illness, your treatment options, and decisions
  • Help with advance health care planning (such as how to talk to your doctors or family, completing advance health care directives or living wills).

"Palliative Care was a game changer." See the video above to hear more from Stanford's Palliative Care team and one of our patients about their experiences with palliative care.