What is Palliative Care?

It is interdisciplinary care including doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, chaplains, pharmacists who focus on improving the quality of life for persons of any age, and their families, who are living with a chronic serious illness. It provides an extra layer of specialized holistice support at any age and any stage of disease.

What is the difference between Palliative Care and Hospice?

Palliative Care and Hospice have similarities as their core values are seeking to relieve pain and suffering through a holistic interdisciplinary approach addressing both the needs of the patient and the caregiver.  However, hospice is typically reserved for those who are nearing the end of life, a matter of six months until death.

Palliative care should be started at the beginning of the diagnosis of a chronic illness and allows the patient to continue with life prolonging and disease-directed therapies.  The care is continued regardless of life expectancy.  Hospice requires that a patient be designated as terminal and that life prolonging and/or cure directed therapies be discontinued.

Benefits of Palliative Care?

  • Proven increased quality of care.
  • Increased quality of life.
  • Increased patient and family satisfaction.
  • Enhanced sense of dignity and well‐being.
  • Reduced emotional stress for families of patients.
  • Decreased length of stay (LOS) in hospitals.
  • Decreased number of days in intensive care unit.
  • Possible fewer burdensome treatments.
  • Improved communication between physicians, patients,
    and other members of the health care team.
  • Clarification of patient’s goals and improved
    matching of patient goals with health care
  • Improved transitioning from hospital to out‐patient
    settings , eg. home, ALF, SNF.
  • Improved coordination of care between involved
    physicians, nurses, specialized out‐patient facilities,
    physical therapy, occupation therapy and durable
    medical equipment.
  • Improved support for care givers.
  • Advanced Care Planning.

Who is Appropriate for Palliative Care?

Request your private physician to refer you for a palliative care consult if you have experienced one or more of the following:


  • You need help with one or more activities of daily living:
    Examples: Dressing, eating, toileting, bathing,
    showering, walking, transferring
    independently from bed to chair, or chair to standing.
  • You have experienced multiple
    hospitalizations over the past year.
  • You have experienced repeat intensive care
    unit admissions over the past year.
  • You have had to be put on a mechanical
    ventilation (the respirator) over the past year.
  • You have severe chronic kidney disease and are on kidney dialysis.
  • You are considering with your physician the pros and cons of a feeding tube as as a means of providing you with nutrition.
  • You have experienced a cardiac arrest and required cardiac resuscitation.
  • You have difficulty controlling pain
    whether it is physical or emotional.
  • You, your family, or your provider is uncertain regarding your goals of care.
  • There have been conflicts between you and your family or significant other regarding a “do not resuscitate” order.
  • You are experiencing the early signs of dementia.
  • You, your family, or your provider is considering whether or not hospice is appropriate for you.
  • You had an incurable cancer diagnosed or heart disease or emphysema or stoke with paralysis diagnosed for over five years.
  • You would not be surprised if you died within the next two years.