Palliative Care for Providers

Whether caring for somebody recently diagnosed with an advanced illness or standing by the bedside of someone living their last moments, providing patient-centered, quality care is fundamental to being a provider.

Palliative care is patient-centered and family-focused care that provides an adult or child of any age with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness. It addresses complex symptom management including assistance with the emotional, social and spiritual suffering often associated with serious illness. Palliative care may be offered to patients alongside treatments intended to cure or treat the illness. Or, it may replace those treatments and serve as a transition to hospice services.

Supportive Palliative Care vs Hospice Care (PDF)

Learn More About Palliative Care:

  • Communicating with Patients and Families about Palliative Care
  • Palliative Care in Texas
  • Patient Qualifications for Palliative Care Services
  • Pediatric Palliative Care
  • Working with an Interdisciplinary Team

For more information on the types of care that can be offered, visit HHSC's Palliative Care services page.

National Consensus Project Guidelines for offering palliative care are available at the National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care website.

Palliative Care Performance Scales and Tools

The following tools will help providers determine if hospice is appropriate for the patient.

Measurement and Evaluation

Pain and Symptom Management

Functional Status

  • Karnofsky Performance Scale
    Commonly used for assessing terminally ill patients, often used to determine appropriateness of hospice referral.
  • Palliative Performance Scale version 2 (PPSv2)
    Measures the functional status of a patient and assigns a Palliative Performance Value; serves as a communication tool for quickly describing a patient's current functional level.

Psychological Care

  • Caregiver Strain Index
    A tool that measures strain related to care provision. Used to assess individuals who have assumed the role of caregiver for an older adult.
  • Hamilton Depression Scale
    Provides an indication of depression and, over time, provides a guide to progress.
  • Blessed-Roth Dementia Scale (DS)
    A brief behavioral scale based on the interview of a close informant. The DS has proved to be a sensitive and specific screening test for dementia.

Caregiver Assessment

  • Caregiver Strain Index
    A tool that measures strain related to care provision. Used to assess individuals who have assumed the role of caregiver for an older adult.
  • FAMCARE Scale
    A 20-item scale measuring family satisfaction with health care given to the patient and to them.

Professional Resources: