Palliative Care

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About Palliative Care

Patients with advanced illnesses – and their families and loved ones – deserve an additional level of compassionate care and support which palliative care provides. Palliative and supportive care helps patients with advanced health care needs experience the best possible quality of life for their circumstances.

Palliative care can begin at any point – any stage – in a patient’s journey to help them live as long and as well as possible. The primary focus in all cases, whether long-term or end-of-life care, is dignity and compassion for all concerned. There is always more than can be done for a patient, but it starts with a conversation.

By supporting patients and families in their time of need, palliative care plays a growing role in the care plan for those with serious or advanced illness. We offer symptom management, referrals, advance care planning, and case management services. 

The UMMC Difference

Palliative and supportive care at UMMC is provided by a specialized team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together to offer an extra layer of patient-centered and relationship-based care for people with advanced, serious illnesses. The team works closely with the patient and family to help them make wise choices, focus on what is important to them, and provide relief from suffering.

Our palliative care team helps guide hospitalized patients and their families through the confusion and fear that come with a serious illness. Caring staff, ranging from nurses to doctors from across many specialties, help patients and families review their options based on their own values, and see to it the choices they make are shared and respected.

Our multidisciplinary team works with the patient to understand symptoms and treatment options, how to manage them in an individual manner, and how to discuss their needs with the right care team. Each patient is unique, and so are his or her values and goals. Palliative care takes the first step in opening a path to communication, whether between a patient and spouse, family members or in the doctor-patient relationship.

Our team talks to – and listens to – patients and their families. It’s not just about telling patients what is the matter with them, but rather finding out what matters to them.

At UMMC, palliative care means “caring about, not just for” our patients.

For More Information

Dealing with a serious or advanced illness is stressful. Knowledge is one of the tools to empower patients and families during this time. Knowledge about the illness, care options and patient’s personal wishes and needs all are valued components in a palliative care strategy. There’s so much more to palliative care than just hospice support.

More sources are available that help explain palliative care. Others help families initiate conversations regarding a patient’s wishes and values.

Palliative Care at UMMC

The palliative care team aids hospitalized patients and their families in countless ways. For example, they:

  • Help patients and their families make informed health care decisions about treatment options, including hospice if and when necessary;
  • Work with the primary medical team to help reduce the patient's pain and symptoms as possible;
  • Help patients establish personal goals of care and shared decision making based on individual values and preferences;
  • Give comfort, guidance, and support to patients and their families;
  • Enhance communication between clinical care teams and families during this emotional time;
  • Let patients and families know what to expect and help them prepare;
  • Preserve the patient's dignity at every stage of illness.

Each patient and family has different needs, but one thing never changes: Palliative care is dedicated to creating the best possible quality of life for each person and their loved ones.