Open Accessibility Menu

Palliative Medicine

An extra layer of support

​Palliative Medicine is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. This type of care focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness – with the goal of improving quality of life for both the patient and the family.

​Palliative Medicine team members meet with you and your family to understand your concerns and clarify your goals. The Team (comprised of doctors, advance practice nurses, social workers and chaplains) then works with you and your other doctors to create a plan that ensures the care you receive is aligned with your wishes and includes the support you and your loved ones need to effectively cope with your serious illness. Palliative Medicine is appropriate at any stage of illness and can be offered in conjunction with curative or life prolonging treatment.

Here are some of the specific types of care Palliative Medicine offers:

Symptom Management

For people with a serious illness, it is common to experience pain, nausea, anxiety, shortness of breath and other distressing symptoms. In Palliative Medicine, the comprehensive team of specially trained providers work together to treat these symptoms with medications and other interventions.

Emotional and Spiritual Support

A serious illness can cause emotional and spiritual distress. Often patients and families need help in finding meaning and hope in the face of the changes and losses associated with the illness. The Palliative Medicine Team understands this and offers the time you need to explore these issues and to develop a plan to help you and your family adjust, cope and thrive.

Information and Communication

The Palliative Medicine Service Team helps answer questions you may have about your illness and treatment options with the goal of helping you clarify your preferences for care to ensure you receive the type of care you want. We offer support and guidance for decisions that may need to be made now or in the future and help you and your family develop a plan to ensure you have the support and resources you need to live as comfortably as possible in the context of your serious illness.

How does Palliative Medicine differ from Hospice Care?

Hospice care is a service that provides end of life care for persons who have a terminal prognosis and estimated life expectancy of six months or less. Hospice patients choose to forgo curative or life prolonging treatment, instead focusing on comfort and remaining in their home or facility with hospice team members coming to them to provide care. Hospice care is most appropriate for patients who do not want to return to the hospital for future care.

Palliative Medicine patients can continue to seek curative or life prolonging treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation or dialysis, and they may choose to return to the hospital for further care when their condition declines or additional problems develop. Palliative Medicine is appropriate for patients at any age and at any stage of a serious medical illness.

If you’re wondering if Palliative Medicine could be helpful to you or someone you care about, please contact the Palliative Medicine Team at (559) 624-5942.