What is a Curative Care Medical Treatment?

Patient receiving out-patient chemotherapy treatment
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Curative care refers to a specific style of medical treatment and therapies provided to a patient with the main intent being to improve or eliminate symptoms that the patient is experiencing and to cure the patient's overall medical problems. Examples of curative care include antibiotics, chemotherapy, or a cast for a broken limb. All of these courses of action aim to improve, and eventually eliminate overall symptoms.

Curative or Aggressive Care

Curative care is also commonly known as and referred to as aggressive care. Just as it sounds, aggressive care is a proactive approach to medical treatment that aggressively aims to eliminate medical issues, rather than simply minimizing their impact. A patient that is receiving aggressive care will typically receive medication, have access to technology, undergo surgery and take any other measures that could be considered effective approaches to treat an illness.

Chemotherapy for cancer, dialysis treatment, radiation therapy, surgery, the use antibiotics, and any other medical interventions specifically designed to preserve and prolong life could all be considered forms of aggressive care.​

With aggressive care comes hope. Typically, when a patient receives aggressive care, it is an indication that there is a belief, among the medical professionals working with the patient, or at least among friends and family members of the patient authorizing the treatment, that the patient may potentially recover, or will at least be able to continue living at a reasonable quality.

When it no longer appears that the patient has a legitimate chance to recover, or continue to live with a decent quality of life, doctors may suggest ending aggressive care. While this may sound like giving up on the patient, such a decision is actually made with the patient’s best interest in mind.

Once a patient reaches a point where curative care is no longer helpful or effective, the quality of life decreases. At this point, patients may prefer to go out peacefully, rather than continue to fight.

Palliative Care

The term curative care is often used in contrast with "palliative care," which is a treatment or therapy that does not directly aim to cure the patient. Rather, palliative care aims to provide comfort for the patient in the moment. Basically, palliative care is a specialized form of health care that aims to improve the overall quality of life of patients and the families of patients who are faced with life-threatening illness and medical issues. Rather than aiming to cure, or completely eliminate the illness, palliative care focuses on increasing the patient’s comfort through minimization of bothersome symptoms.

Hospice is a specific type of palliative care that Is provided to individuals in the last six to nine months of life.

Examples: Justine was given oral antibiotics to cure her bacterial infection.

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