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Palliative Medicine

What is palliative medicine?

Palliative medicine is specialized care for patients with a serious illness that is both a philosophy of care and an organized, highly structured system for delivering care. The goal of palliative medicine is to prevent and relieve suffering and provide the best quality of life for people living with pain, complex symptoms and stresses of chronic illness. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage of an illness and can be delivered along with life-prolonging care or as the main focus of care.

Palliative medicine respects each patient's individual wishes. Palliative medicine expands traditional medical treatments to include the goals of enhancing quality of life for patient and family, helping with decision making and providing opportunities for personal growth. Palliative medicine does not replace the traditional role of the patient's treating physician, but rather supplements it.

What patients benefit from palliative medicine?

Primarily, the palliative medicine team helps patients and their families contend with a  life-changing diagnosis. The team helps them to navigate the complex decision making about all aspects of the patient's care.

Care aims to maximizes quality of life while respecting the patient's wishes. Together with the patient's doctor, Mather's palliative medicine team educates the patient and family to the disease process and addresses psychological, cultural and/or spiritual issues the patient or family may be struggling with. Because the palliative medicine team is hospital based, they can provide both patient and family ample time to answer questions and address issues.

Mather's Palliative Medicine Team

Board certified in palliative medicine and family medicine, Alice Kolasa, DO was formerly the Associate Medical Director as well as the Director of Palliative Medicine, at Our Lady of Consolation in West Islip, NY. She previously worked in group practice and received her medical degree from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Phyllis Macchio, ANP, GNP joined the staff at Mather in 2010 to facilitate the new Coronary Heart Failure patient program. Previously, Phyllis worked at Good Shepherd Hospice and as a geriatric nurse practitioner at Stony Brook University Medical Center. Earlier in her career, she worked in the CCU at St. Francis Hospital. Phyllis has her Master's degree in nursing and is board certified as a nurse practitioner.