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What is palliative care?

Palliative care provides family-centered care to those with life-limiting illnesses. The goal is to improve the quality of life of patients through comprehensive assessment and treatment of pain and other symptoms. This program is available to help you and your family with complicated healthcare decisions, reduce physical symptoms and provide support.

Palliative care is effective at any point in an illness and may be provided at the same time as curative treatment.

Who is on the palliative care team?

Montefiore’s highly-trained palliative care consult team includes a palliative care physician, an advanced nurse practitioner, registered nurses, social workers and spiritual care professionals.

How does palliative care differ from hospice care?

Palliative care services are offered alongside aggressive, life-prolonging measures. The focus of care is on the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs of patients and families. Hospice is focused on comfort care and provides a more comprehensive umbrella of services once life-prolonging treatments are no longer part of the plan of care.

What are the benefits of a palliative care consult?

Palliative care consults improve coordination of services and promote a closer rapport with local hospitals and physicians, leading to an increase in patient and family satisfaction. Often there is a reduction in unnecessary hospitalizations, medical tests, procedures and medications due to increased communication and education. The cost for a palliative care consult is generally paid through Medicare and private insurance.

What are the primary goals of palliative care?

Palliative care improves symptom control and enhances quality of life for patients and their families dealing with advanced illness. The palliative care program improves education related to health care choices for patients and families and advocates effectively for patient comfort, dignity and choice. Palliative care expands the quality and spectrum of services for patients and families who are not qualified or ready for hospice care. Palliative care supports the patient’s and family’s goals, including their hopes for cure or prolonging life, as well as their hopes for peace and dignity throughout the course of the illness.

Where do the consults take place?

Palliative care consults can be conducted at Montefiore, in other skilled nursing and assisted living facilities or in your home.

What happens during a palliative care consult?

The process can begin with your primary physician suggesting that a palliative care consult would be helpful or you requesting the services of the palliative care consult team.

A member of the palliative care team will then contact you to determine the primary goals of the consult and set up an appointment with the palliative care physician. The palliative care physician would then talk to your primary physician, review the medical records and perform a physical examination to get a clear picture of the patient’s medical history and current status. The palliative care physician and other team members then meet with the patient and family members to thoroughly review their concerns and needs. Recommendations are shared with the patient, family and primary physician. Additional consults are scheduled as needed to meet goals and assist with new issues as they arise.

For referrals and information phone 216.910.2642.

With gratitude to the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation and The McGregor Foundation for generously supporting this program.

Montefiore’s palliative and hospice services are open to all faiths.

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“We were anxious and confused before the palliative team met with us. With their help our family was able to come together to make all the important decisions about Mom’s care.”

– A grateful family member