About Palliative Care

Teaching patient how to use MyChart.

Teaching patient how to use MyChart.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative Care is an interdisciplinary approach to the care of persons with illnesses no longer responsive to curative treatment. The goal of palliative care is to achieve and sustain the highest quality of life for patients and their families by providing aggressive pain and symptom management, together with psychosocial and spiritual support to lessen suffering.

Who Receives Palliative Care Treatment?

People with any chronic medical condition, which most likely cannot be cured, can benefit from palliative care services. People who are receiving aggressive treatment for their diseases often experience side effects. These individuals can also receive palliative care services to assist with symptom management and to receive psychological, emotional, financial and spiritual support.

How is Palliative Care Different From Hospice Care?

Palliative care includes but is not limited to hospice care. Hospice can only provide services to people with a terminal disease who have less than six months life expectancy. People receiving hospice services can no longer receive treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, frequent blood transfusions, and certain medications. Palliative care does not share the same limitations as many hospice programs and can follow any person with a potentially life-limiting disease. If hospice care becomes appropriate at the end of life, the palliative care team works with the local hospice agency to provide terminal care.

About the Palliative Care Team

Patients often keep their own primary doctor, with the palliative care physician acting as a consultant. Some people choose the palliative care physician to manage their care when symptom management and/or end-of-life care is the main focus. The palliative care team includes nurses, a social worker, a chaplain and, if needed, physical, occupational or speech therapists.

Dying With Dignity

PBS produced a four-part series on dying with dignity; To learn more about this series, which aired in September 2000, and how to order a videotape, visit www.pbs.org/wnet/onourownterms/.

Palliative Care Online Resources:

Emergency Contact

The palliative care team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can be reached for emergencies, after normal business hours, by calling the University operator at 434-924-0000 and asking that the on-call palliative care physician be paged.

Palliative Care Consults

Healthcare providers can arrange for a palliative care consult by calling the University operator at 434-924-0000 and asking that the Palliative Care Consult Team be paged at #1539.