What is palliative care? Palliative care is specialized care for people living with serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief of the symptoms and stress of an illness, and the goal is to ensure the patient has the best quality of life as possible.

Memorial Health offers palliative care in the hospital and in the community: Hospital-based palliative care is provided to patients admitted to a Memorial Health hospital. Community-based palliative care is provided in a range of community settings including personal homes, assisted living and via telehealth.

Who needs palliative care? If you or a loved one has a serious illness and meets one the following criteria, consider talking with your physician about palliative care:

  • Experiencing pain or other symptoms
  • Frequent hospitalizations
  • Decreased functional status
  • Decreased quality-of-life

LEARN How to Talk with Your Doctor About Serious Illness

Working in partnership with the patient's other providers, the palliative care team helps patients with serious illness and their families by:

  • Ensuring care is matched to goals and priorities
  • Providing counseling and support
  • Facilitating family meetings with healthcare team
  • Educating patients and families about what to expect in the future
  • Communicating and coordinating with healthcare team
  • Recommending management approaches for emotional symptoms and physician coordination
  • Assisting with identification of surrogate decision-maker

What happens next?

Go to top of this page and click the "In This Section" button to learn more about Care Management Services. If you are interested in speaking with someone about Memorial's palliative care service, call 217-788-5565 or view our program brochure here.

Click here to send a community-based referral

Frequently Asked Questions about Palliative Care

What can I expect from palliative care?

Working in a consultative manner with the patient's other providers, the palliative care team provides:

  • Comprehensive assessment to identify patient’s needs and priorities
  • Coordination and communication of care plans among all providers, across healthcare settings and over time
  • Advance care planning to guide a healthcare plan aligned with goals, values and preferences
  • Education about diagnosis and what to expect 
  • Recommendations for management of pain and non-pain symptoms
  • Counseling and support for patients, families and caregivers

Benefits of palliative care?

Palliative care is associated with positive patient-centered outcomes such as improved quality of life, symptom relief, emotional well-being, communication, continuity of care and caregiver support.

Difference between palliative care and hospice care?

Palliative care is not the same as hospice care because palliative care is not dependent on a patient’s prognosis and can be appropriate at any point during a serious illness. Palliative care can be provided alongside curative care.

Final six months of life
Pain management
(no curative treatment)
Pain management + curative treatment

Is palliative care right for me or my loved one?

Palliative care is appropriate for patients with serious illness who are:

  • Experiencing pain or other symptoms
  • Frequent hospitalizations
  • Decreased functional status
  • Decreased quality-of-life

Will I have a new doctor if I use palliative care?

Memorial’s palliative care follows a consultative approach, which means the palliative care team will work with you and your healthcare team to develop a care plan that meets your needs.

Can I still pursue active treatment of my serious illness (i.e. hemodialysis, chemotherapy, radiation) if I do palliative care?

Yes. Palliative care will follow you through all stages of your disease and treatment and is most beneficial when started early in your disease process.

Can I receive palliative care outside the hospital after I am discharged?

After discharge, palliative care services may be available to you through Memorial’s community-based program.

What if I experience severe, unrelieved symptoms at home? Can I go back to the hospital?

Yes. You can notify the Emergency Department team or your admitting physician that you would like to be seen by the palliative care team.

Does receiving Palliative Care mean I am dying or giving up?

No. Palliative care began under the premise that all patients with chronic diseases should receive proper symptom management regardless of the stage of their disease.