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Palliative Care

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What Is Supportive Medicine or Palliative Care?

Supportive Medicine, also known as palliative care, is a healthcare specialty focused on improving the quality of life for patients and their families by reducing the physical and emotional burdens of illness, through expert use of:

  • Symptom management
  • Supportive counseling
  • Advance care planning
  • Communication with the patient and family

Is There an Appropriate Time to Receive Supportive Medicine Services?

Patients can be referred to supportive medicine care at any time. A common misperception exists that palliative care is only offered for patients who are ending curative treatment.

Who Pays for Supportive Medicine or Palliative Care Services?

  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • Most private insurances

Why Specialty Care? Don't All Doctors and Nurses Know How to Treat Symptoms?

While most physicians and nurses have a solid understanding of symptom management, many patients have multiple symptoms or a single difficult symptom that requires an interdisciplinary approach and specialized expertise. Supportive medicine care interdisciplinary team members are experts in this specialized area of medicine and through research are pioneering new approaches to effective treatment. By working closely with the primary team, the supportive medicine specialist often stabilizes and strengthens patients.  At times, this advantage of receiving the most sophisticated symptom management allows a patient to continue with his or her current treatment plan.

Mobile Consulting Team

The Supportive Medicine Team provides consulting and follow-up services to hospitalized patients throughout the institution. We provide support to the primary team but do not serve as the attending physician in this situation. The Supportive Medicine Team is lead by a physician specializing in supportive or palliative medicine. Also on the team are nurses, social workers and chaplains, who work with the physician to provide the best service possible.

To Make a Referral

  • A consultation request is made by a physician on the medical staff
  • The Supportive Medicine Team evaluates the patient for services
  • New patient consultations are available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Patients who have established palliative care consults will have round-the-clock palliative care follow-up