What is palliative care? A conversation with a doctor who has made it her life’s work

When someone is diagnosed with a serious disease — cancer, for instance — oftentimes, an entire team of health professionals oversees the person’s care. There could be a primary care doctor, a surgeon, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, social worker, a dietitian.

And sometimes, a palliative care specialist. But not often enough, says Dr. Diane Meier. She’s a palliative care specialist and the Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

Palliative care focuses on improving a person’s quality of life when he/she is dealing with a serious illness. Diseases that not too long ago would mean certain death are now treatable. Even if a disease can’t be cured, it may be treated as a chronic condition.

In this Catching Health podcast, I talk with Dr. Meier about why she believes palliative care is so important, not only for the patient but for the whole family. She also explains the difference between palliative care and hospice.

More information

For more information about palliative care visit Get Palliative Care. For more information about Dr. Meier and her work, visit the Center to Advance Palliative Care.

Resources/Maine and New Hampshire 

Palliative Care Resources/Maine

Hospice Care Resources/Maine

Palliative and Hospice Care Resources/New Hampshire

Please let me know if there are other resources I can add to the list.

Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. She now hosts and produces the Catching Health podcast and writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.