Our glossary explains some of the medical and legal terms used in palliative care. Glossary words are underlined in the Topics and Asked and Answered sections, with definitions appearing when you hover on a word.
An unpleasant physical and emotional sensation caused when nerves send a message to the brain that there is damage to the body. Pain is experienced differently by different people and can be influenced by many factors, including fatigue, worry, anxiety, depression or sadness.
Special nerve endings that send a message to the brain that there is damage to the body.
An approach to care that focuses on comfort and quality of life for those affected by progressive, life threatening illness. The goal of palliative care is to control pain and other symptoms, support emotional, spiritual and cultural needs and maximize functioning.
The removal of fluid from the abdominal cavity. The skin is numbed using a local anesthetic, and a needle or catheter is inserted into the abdomen to drain the fluid.
A forecast or estimate of what will probably happen in the course of a disease, including its likely outcome.
A person chosen to speak and act for the patient about health care decisions if the patient is unable to do so. See Substitute decision maker.
A type of medication that acts on the brain to improve energy, mood and alertness. Requires a prescription.
Our team of experts answers your questions about life-threatening illness and loss.
What can I do to support my wife who's dying and let her know she won't be forgotten?
How long can someone live without food and water?
My dad doesn't want to talk about his illness. How can I talk to him about it?
How can I support my husband who's been diagnosed with cancer and is waiting for test results?
When Death is Near - Learn more about changes people may experience in the final days of life.
Health Care Directives - Having a health care directive can ensure treatment decisions are respected.
Considerations for a Home Death - How you can prepare to provide care at home.
Lack of Appetite - What you can do when someone loses interest in food.
A remarkable story of how onehospice volunteer connects withpatients and families throughtheir feet.