Our glossary explains some of the medical and legal terms used in palliative care. Glossary words are underlined in the Topics and Asked and Answered sections, with definitions appearing when you hover on a word.
Severe weight loss and muscle wasting caused by the body’s inability to use nutrients from food.
A treatment that uses medications to damage cancer cells, to stop them from growing and dividing. Common side effects may include nausea, vomiting, tiredness, pain and hair loss.
Repeated, rhythmic pressure on the chest of someone whose heart has stopped beating. The repeated pressure helps keep blood circulating in the body.
Clusters of rapid breathing that start with shallow breaths that become deeper and deeper, and then fade off, becoming shallower and shallower. Each cluster is separated by a pause in breathing.
A condition of the digestive system resulting in bowel movements that are less frequent than normal. Stool is hard, dry and difficult to pass. Normal frequency varies greatly among people, but a person should have a bowel movement at least every three days.
Our team of experts answers your questions about life-threatening illness and loss.
What can I do to support my wife who's dying and let her know she won't be forgotten?
How long can someone live without food and water?
My dad doesn't want to talk about his illness. How can I talk to him about it?
How can I support my husband who's been diagnosed with cancer and is waiting for test results?
When Death is Near - Learn more about changes people may experience in the final days of life.
Health Care Directives - Having a health care directive can ensure treatment decisions are respected.
Considerations for a Home Death - How you can prepare to provide care at home.
Lack of Appetite - What you can do when someone loses interest in food.
A remarkable story of how onehospice volunteer connects withpatients and families throughtheir feet.