What is palliative medicine?

Patient and Nurse, palliative medicine at Mather HospitalPalliative medicine is specialized care for patients with a serious illness.  It is 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 from a chronic illness. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage of an illness and can be delivered in conjunction with life-prolonging care or as the main focus of care.

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

Who can 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 maximize 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 about 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.

The Palliative Medicine Program at Mather Hospital

Our Palliative Medicine Program  is delivered with a team approach, which includes nurse practitioners, nurses and physicians who work together to deliver coordinated, effective palliative care for our patients.  A Palliative Medicine consult may be requested for any patient and through the patient’s physician.