Stony Brook Medicine Health News
Palliative Care at Home

Can You Receive Palliative Care at Home?

Living with a serious illness can be a scary and confusing experience for you or your loved one. It’s a time when receiving dedicated, personalized care focused on minimizing pain and providing emotional support can make a world of difference. 

The Palliative Care Service is a specialized team who focuses on the care of people living with serious illnesses. They aim to improve quality of life by assessing and managing the physical, emotional and spiritual symptoms associated with serious illness.

Palliative care is offered in various settings, including hospitals, outpatient clinics and increasingly, it’s becoming available in patients’ homes.

What Is Palliative Care at Home?

While palliative care is provided primarily in hospitals and clinics, more and more patients are asking to receive this type of care at home. 

When you receive at-home palliative care, doctors, nurses, and other specialists come to your home to make sure you can cope with your illness as well as possible, right where you feel most comfortable. Getting palliative care at home is all about making your life easier and giving you more control over your health.

Some homecare and hospice agencies may provide palliative care support, serving as an extra set of eyes for patients and helping with the transition to hospice, when needed. 

Here’s what you can expect when you receive palliative care at home:

  • Address symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of appetite and nausea
  • Help in managing emotional and spiritual distress, including for you and your family
  • Support in understanding your illness and treatment options
  • Help coordinate with your primary doctor and other healthcare providers
  • Assist with making medical decisions that align with your goals and values
  • Help with reducing the need for hospital visits

Who Is Palliative Care at Home Right For?

Palliative care at home is suitable for people of any age who are facing serious illness and seeking relief from symptoms, emotional support and assistance in navigating their treatment options. 

This type of at-home care can help people with a range of serious illnesses, including:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Kidney disease
  • Neurological conditions (such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Parkinson’s disease)

It’s particularly beneficial for those experiencing burdensome symptoms impacting their ability to transport to a clinic visit. 

Talking to Your Healthcare Team About Palliative Care

If you think you might want palliative care at home, start by talking to your doctor or social worker at the hospital or clinic where you’re being treated. Not every hospital or clinic offers at-home palliative care, and it may not be covered by your health insurance. 

Talk to your providers or social worker to see what options are available to receive palliative care. If home care isn’t available, receiving palliative care within a hospital setting or clinic are also beneficial options.  

This article is intended to be general and/or educational in nature. Always consult your healthcare professional for help, diagnosis, guidance and treatment.