Definitions: Palliative Care


Chinese medical practice of needle insertion into energy channels in the body called meridians. 

Alternative medicine

A variety of therapeutic or preventative health care practices, such as homeopathy, naturopathy and herbal medicine, that do not follow generally accepted medical methods and may not have a scientific explanation for their effectiveness.


A state of apprehension, uncertainty and fear resulting from the anticipation of a real or imagined threatening event or situation.

Clinical massage

Soft tissue manipulation.

Complementary medicine

A method of health care, including clinical massage, acupuncture, and other therapies and philosophies, that are used in conjunction with conventional medicine.


A feeling of intense sadness and loss of hope.


End-of-life care for patients with a prognosis of less than 6 months that focuses on pain relief and comfort care.

Palliative care

Relieving or soothing the symptoms of a disease or disorder without effecting a cure, focusing on important quality of life for the patient and family. It is provided by a team of physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals working together with a primary care physician or specialist, usually an oncologist. It can be provided at any age and while it is usually for care treatment, it can be provided along with curative treatment. Palliative care can increase the comfort of patients by controlling pain and other symptoms and lessoning the stress experienced by terminal or chronically ill patients and their families.


A mentally and emotionally disruptive or upsetting condition occurring in response to very distressing or difficult outside situations and capable of effecting physical (a rise in blood pressure, muscular tension) and mental health (irritability and depression).


The Merck Manual of Medical Information – Home Edition. Merck Research Laboratories, 1997

Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine – 16th Edition. McGraw-Hill, Medical Publishing Division, 2005

The American Medical Association Encyclopedia of Medicine. Random House New York, 1989

Stedman’s Medical Dictionary – 27th Edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2000

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language – Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000

EPEC -O (Education in Palliative and End-of-Life Care – Oncology), Cancer Pain Management, EPEC Project, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL., 2005


Palliative Care