Caring for a loved one with a serious illness can be stressful and exhausting. A growing field of specialized care, known as palliative, benefits seriously ill individuals and their caregivers.

Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County will present a program, "Helping Those with Serious Illness," at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3, at Lapham Community Center, Waveny Park, New Canaan.

The free program will be facilitated by Kristin Carpenter, a licensed clinical social worker with Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County. She will discuss how to determine if palliative care is the right choice, what can be expected and who may be eligible to receive it.

"Palliative care focuses on improving quality of life and providing comfort for patients at any stage of a serious illness, even while they are still receiving curative treatment," said Carpenter, who provides in-home counseling services for those dealing with serious or life-threatening illnesses and their families.

"Palliative care focuses on relief of pain and other physical symptoms, emphasizes communication with the entire health-care team, connects patients and their caregivers with community resources, and provides education and guidance through treatment decisions," she said. "Most times, palliative care can be provided in the comfort and privacy of home."

For information or to register, call Lapham Community Center at 203-594-3623.

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