The term “palliative (PAL-ee-uh-tiv) care” is generally used to describe the effective management of common symptoms associated with a serious illness. The goal of palliative care is to improve or maintain a person’s well-being throughout the disease experience. Palliative care comes from a coordinated, comprehensive approach to effectively manage your disease and its symptoms by all members of the healthcare team.
For people living with interstitial lung disease (ILD) that causes scarring of the lungs that progresses over time (also known as chronic ILD with worsening fibrosis), palliative care is considered a key component in the effective management of common symptoms. Palliative care should not be confused with end-of-life or hospice care. Instead, palliative care is used together with disease management and focuses on the whole person—the physical, emotional, spiritual, and social aspects that are individually important to you. Palliative care can begin at any time during your disease. Because it may help with many of your symptoms, it’s best to begin palliative care as early as possible.