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.


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False or distorted sensory experiences (sights, sounds or touch) that are interpreted as real.

Health care directive

A document that outlines treatment decisions a patient wants made if he or she is unable to communicate or make decisions in the future. See Advance care plan.

Higher entity

A higher force, power or energy that represents the spiritual dimension giving meaning to our lives and the world around us. It may represent God, Allah, Creator or Universal Truth, as found in established faiths, or it may refer to an individual's sense of the connection between us and the universe.


A caregiving facility that provides coordinated, multi-disciplinary care for people living with terminal illnesses and for their families and caregivers. “Hospice care” is used interchangeably with “palliative care” to describe an approach to care or a community program providing services with such an approach.


Low levels of oxygen in the body.

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