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 settings in the community, including provider offices, personal homes and assisted livings.

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

Start conversation with your doctor: Talking about serious illness isn’t easy. If you have been diagnosed with a serious illness, you may assume your doctor will start a conversation about the progression of your disease, your future prognosis and treatment options. However, your doctor may be waiting for you to ask the right questions. This sometime means these crucial conversations are delayed until a moment of crisis. Rather than waiting until a crisis unfolds, start the conversation with your doctor now. 

Download our guide to help you start the conversation with your doctor. 

Frequently asked questions about Palliative Care

What can I expect from a Palliative Care service?

Working in a consultative manner with the patients other providers, the palliative care team provides:

  • Comprehensive assessment to identify the 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 that is aligned with goals, values and preferences
  • Education about diagnosis and what to expect in the future
  • Recommendations for the management of pain and non-pain symptoms
  • Counseling and support for patients, families and caregivers

What are the 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.

What is the difference between palliative care and hospice care?

Palliative Care is not the same as hospice care, as 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.

Hospice
Palliative
Diagnosis
Terminal
Serious
Timeframe
Final 6 months of life
Anytime
Treatment
Pain Management
(no curative treatment)
Pain management + curative treatment

Is palliative care right for me?

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?

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 still pursue active treatment of my serious illness (i.e. hemodialysis, chemotherapy, radiation, etc.) if I do Palliative Care?

Memorial’s palliative care service follows a consultative approach. This means that the palliative care team will work with you and your health care tam to develop a plan of care that meets your needs.

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 home-based program.

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

Yes. You can notify the Emergency Room team or your admitting physician that you would like to be seen by the Palliative Care team.

Does receiving Palliative Care mean that 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.

LEARN HOw to Talk with Your Doctor About Serious Illness