Palliative Care

Palliative care is both patient- and family-centered and can help improve quality of life by providing relief from symptoms, stress and suffering. Palliative care is appropriate for patients in any stage of 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 other health care professionals, including neurologists, neurosurgeons, primary care providers, nurses and therapists.

As a stroke survivor or family member, you should expect your health care professional to:

  • Ask about your preferences, needs and values as a guide to medical decisions.
  • Seek to understand 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. Health care professionals should address pros and cons of CPR, ventilators, feeding tubes, surgery, do not resuscitate (DNR) orders, do not intubate (DNI) 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 such as 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. Rehabilitation can build your strength, capability and confidence. It can help you continue your daily activities despite the effects of your stroke.

Our Life After Stroke Guide is available in English and Spanish.

Together to End Stroke®

Together is how we work — the AHA/ASA, health care professionals, stroke survivors, caregivers, sponsors, supporters and caring individuals. Stay informed on the latest stroke news and resources. As a thank-you, you’ll get instant access to a free mini cookbook!