Palliative Care

medical care team

Palliative care is patient- and family-centered care that can help improve quality of life by providing relief from symptoms, stress and suffering. Palliative care is appropriate for patients in any stage of a serious illness and in any care setting. It considers the physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual needs.

People recovering from a stroke should have a well-coordinated medical team to personalize their care, optimize their quality of life and focus on what is most important to the patient and family. For a stroke patient and their family, palliative care supports collaboration between patients, families, a stroke team and various providers, including neurologists, neurosurgeons, primary care providers, nurses and therapists.

As a stroke survivor or family member, you should expect your healthcare provider to:

  • Talk about your preferences, needs and values as a guide to medical decisions.
  • Discuss which aspects of recovery are most important to you.
  • Have effective, sensitive discussions about your prognosis, how to deal with physical or mental losses from a stroke, and if necessary, end of life planning, among other serious topics.
  • Guide you through choices about life-sustaining treatment options. Providers should address pros and cons of CPR, ventilators, feeding tubes, surgery, do-not-resuscitate orders, do-not-intubate orders and natural feeding.
  • Know the best treatment options for common post-stroke symptoms and quality of life, including pain, other physical symptoms and psychological problems like depression and anxiety.
  • Engage a palliative care specialist if complex issues arise.
  • Engage a palliative care specialist before complex issues arise.

Related Links

AHA/ASA Scientific Statement: Stroke patients should receive customized palliative care

Life after stroke - our path forward

There is life – and hope – after stroke. With time, new routines will become second nature. 

Together to End Stroke®

Together is how we work — the AHA/ASA, healthcare professionals, stroke survivors, caregivers, sponsors, supporters and caring individuals. To End Stroke is what we're striving for.