Supportive Palliative Care


Supportive Palliative Care (SPC), which is a recognized specialty in the medical field, is available to people of all ages at any stage of a serious illness.

This team-based approach to care focuses controlling pain and improving comfort levels so you have a better quality of life. This care is provided if you have a serious, though not necessarily life-ending illness. SPC helps with your physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs.

How Is SPC Different Than Hospice Care?

SPC treatments focus on pain and symptom comfort levels. At the same time, multiple clinicians provide other disease interventions – such as attempts at cure or remission. This is a distinct difference from hospice care, which focuses on end-of-life comfort care.

How Can I Get SPC?

If you have a serious illness and experience any of the following symptoms, SPC may be right for you:

  • Uncontrolled pain and symptom management
  • Depression, anxiety or fear
  • Family or community distress
  • Spiritual needs

If you think this type of care would benefit you or someone in your family, talk with your healthcare provider about getting an SPC consultation. To find a palliative care provider in your area, visit Find a Team.

Who Is Part Of My Palliative Care Team?

It takes a team-approach to ensure you get the best care. Experts suggest you might want the following people on your SPC team:

  • Your loved ones
  • Social worker
  • Nurse
  • Pharmacist
  • Chaplain
  • Palliative care doctor
  • Advanced practice providers (nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant)
  • Other health care providers that treat you

What Does An SPC Team Do?

Your SPC team will:

  • Prescribe treatments to control pain
  • Assist with difficult decisions
  • Coordinate care with other doctors and healthcare clinicians
  • Provide emotional and spiritual support

SPC For Children

Supportive palliative care may not be the first thing that comes to mind if your child is diagnosed with a serious illness. Palliative care for children not only is a key part of caring for your child, but also can be an important source of support for the whole family.

What are the benefits of palliative care for my child?

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), palliative care can ease the symptoms, discomfort and stress of serious illness for your child and family. It can help with your child’s illness and give support to your family by:

  • Easing your child’s pain and other symptoms of illness
  • Providing emotional and social support that respects your family’s cultural values
  • Helping your child’s health care providers work together and communicate with one another to support your goals
  • Starting open discussions with you, your child, and your health care team about options for care

You can learn more about palliative care for children from the NIH booklet, Palliative Care for Children (PDF). It includes how this kind of care can help you child live a more comfortable life, how to talk to your doctor and who pays for care.

Where can I get more information?

Project Joy & Hope allows opportunities to participate in programs and services that promote physical and psychosocial care for children with life-limiting illnesses.

The Texas Pediatric Palliative Care Consortium offers a parent-to-parent support line – 866-JOY-HOPE.

How Do I Pay For SPC?

Palliative care may be paid for by your health insurance or managed care organization, or by state or federal programs such as Medicare or Medicaid. Services also may be available for veterans from the Department of Veterans Affairs.