Supportive and palliative care is a specialised approach to care for people with serious illnesses. It is delivered by a multi-disciplinary care team who work together with a patient's healthcare team, to provide an extra layer of support. The focus of palliative care is to improve the quality of life of patients and families.
It can be provided at any age and at any stage of the illness, whether or not the patient is receiving active treatment. Hence, a patient with cancer can receive palliative care alongside chemotherapy, radiation therapy or even trial or experimental treatments.
Besides cancer, palliative care is also commonly provided to patients with other serious chronic illnesses such as kidney failure, advanced COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and heart failure, or progressive neurological conditions like motor neurone disease.