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Palliative Medicine

people holding hands

Palliative medicine is primarily for persons with advanced, progressive disease.

The overall goal is to improve quality of life by emphasizing care of the whole person, including family and loved ones. Palliative medicine is often misunderstood. Some people view it as "doing nothing", while others believe that palliative care is an option only after all other treatments and medications have been stopped.   

Any person suffering with symptoms or effects of advanced illness may be appropriate for palliative interventions.

  • Those with pain management needs
  • Those in need of symptom management
  • Those in need of social assistance, psychological support, decision assistance and emotional / spiritual support

The difference between palliative medicine and hospice care

Palliative care and hospice differ in many ways. Hospice is a home care program serving persons in the last six months of life. It is designed to help families care for their loved ones at the end of life.

Palliative care can be of benefit earlier in the disease process and provide care in:

  • A hospital setting
  • A Palliative Care Unit
  • An outpatient clinic

Palliative Care Specialists may continue to provide care if the patient enrolls in hospice.

Where do people receive palliative care?

People can receive palliative support and care in a variety of settings including home, hospital and outpatient clinics.

Who provides palliative care?

The entire palliative medicine team provides palliative care. The plan of care is individualized for each patient. Planning may include the following team members in addition to input from patient and family:

  • Primary physician
  • Palliative medicine physicians
  • Nursing
  • Staff
  • Volunteers
  • Social Worker
  • Spiritual Counselor
  • Consulted support staff

Who pays for palliative care?

Insurance, Medicare and Medicaid provide Palliative Care Unit and consultation coverage similarly to other parts of a hospital or doctor visit.  We involve a social worker and case manager with the plan of care. They are available answer your questions about discharge or finances.

Image of two individuals holding hands End of life: People have care options

Palliative medicine is comprised of palliative care and hospice, with similarities and differences that are important to know. Read more

More palliative medicine stories:

Consider, then communicate your health care wishes

End-of-life care: Legacy building

Palliative care: 4 things to know