Palliative Care Services & Hospice
At St. Joseph Health Medical Group, we believe in treating the whole person
— body, mind and spirit. That means tending not just to an individual’s
physical condition, but also to their emotional and spiritual needs. All
members of our St. Joseph Health family — physicians, staff and
volunteers alike — are dedicated to the total well-being of our
patients and their loved ones.
The palliative care team works to give patients and their families compassionate
care while helping them manage serious illness. Our services begin upon
diagnosis and continue for as long as a patient needs support for their
condition. We provide comprehensive care to patients and their families
by helping them cope with chronic illness and the bereavement process.
From advance care planning to pain relief support, our team of compassionate
providers are devoted to helping each patient realize their goals.
Palliative medicine isn’t just limited to end-of-life care. Our clinicians
treat symptoms as early as possible and enable people with a serious disease
to live more comfortably. Patients referred to our palliative care team
can continue curative treatments and receive aggressive treatment for
their pain and other symptoms, along with increased physical and spiritual support.
What is Palliative Care
Palliative care is medical care to relieve suffering and improve the quality
of life for patients with serious and/or life-threatening illness. This
is accomplished with advanced symptom management facilitated by a team
of experts. Palliative care is provided at the same time as other appropriate
medical treatment. Unlike hospice, palliative care is available to any
patient, not just patients with a limited life expectancy. Patients referred
to the Palliative Care Team can continue curative treatments and receive
aggressive treatment for their pain and other symptoms, along with increased
physical and spiritual support.
Caring for body, mind and spirit
Our Palliative Care Team is comprised of doctors, nurses, social workers
and chaplains. This team may be asked by your physician to provide palliative
care to you. This is an additional resource provided to you and your family
while you are an inpatient. Your physician remains the leader of your
Our physicians at St. Joseph Health Medical Group and Palliative Care Team
Can Help by:
- Providing services that meet the special physical, psychosocial and spiritual
needs of you and your family
- Offering assistance to you and your family to identify goals of treatment
- Helping with aggressive management of pain and other symptoms
- Supporting family care givers
- Simply listening and offering support
- Other Benefits of Palliative Care
Most patients suffering from illness want symptom management and some
sense of control. Many times they want to spend time with their loved
ones to remember good times and talk about important things. Pain and
other symptoms may get in the way of allowing the patient to do this.
When your physician asks the Palliative Care Team to assist with your
care, it is similar to a referral to any other specialist.
How Does Palliative Care Begin?
Your primary care physician may discuss palliative care with you. If you
choose, your physician will make a referral to our Palliative Care Team.
You may also ask your physician for a palliative care consult. The team
will respond promptly by reviewing your medical record and current plan
of care. The team will assess both your needs as well as the needs of
your family. The findings will determine the palliative plan of care,
which will be recommended to you and your physician.
The following are some suggestions for you and your family as you discuss
your goals of care with your physician:
- Ask your doctor to explain your illness as well as past, current and future
treatments and procedures.
- Explain to your doctor what quality of life means to you. This list may
include being able to spend time with loved ones, having pain and other
distressing symptoms aggressively treated, the ability to make your own
decisions for care and your preferred location of treatments (home vs.
in the hospital).
- Be sure your doctor is aware of any personal, religious or cultural beliefs,
values or practices that are important to consider in your care and treatment
Tell your doctor what curative treatments you may or may not want, such
as resuscitation if your heart were to stop, being placed on a mechanical
ventilator if your lungs were to fail, undergoing dialysis if your kidneys
were to fail, and artificial nutrition by a feeding tube if you were unable to eat.