Skip to main content

Palliative care

Smiling young girl in white dress holding yellow flowers leans into her elderly grandfather.

Palliative care is available to anyone who is in any stage of a chronic or advanced illness. It is for people who are being treated for cancer or other serious diseases.

Palliative care treats pain and other physical symptoms, as well as emotional and spiritual concerns. It helps patients and their families understand their illness and treatment choices, as well as address financial and community resource options.

To learn more about Allina Health Palliative Care, call 651-635-9173.

A nurse will review your circumstances on the phone and discuss ways that palliative care can help.
There is no charge for this call.

Patients may choose to receive palliative care services at home, in the clinic or hospital, or in other types of care settings. Patients and families have telephone access to a palliative care nurse 24 hours a day.

Understanding palliative care

To pay your Allina Health Palliative Care bill call,
612-262-1779
or pay your bill now.

Living each day to the fullest is so important for people who have chronic (long-term) or advanced illness. Palliative care can help people be as independent and comfortable as possible.

Palliative care is available to anyone who is in any stage of a chronic or advanced illness. It is for people who are being treated for cancer or other serious diseases. Hospice care is for people who have six months or less to live.

Palliative care benefits people who are living with pain and other physical symptoms, as well as emotional and spiritual concerns. It helps patients and their families understand their illness and treatment choices, as well as address financial and community resource options.

Allina Health Palliative Care's team approach is to make certain that patients with advanced illness get the highest quality of care in any care setting. This approach sometimes decreases the length of hospital stays and eliminates unnecessary emergency room visits. It can also ease transitions between the hospital, nursing home and other care settings.


Source: The Center to Advance Palliative Care
Reviewed by: Gloria Cade, RN, BSN, CHPCA, director, hospice & palliative care
First Published: 08/20/2004
Last Reviewed: 02/07/2014

When to consider palliative care

Allina Health Palliative Care can help people with chronic or advanced illness and may have:

To discuss how palliative care could help you or your family, call 651-635-9173.

  • lost hope and become depressed
  • not responded well to medications and still have pain
  • considered hospice but do not feel ready for it
  • disagreements with their family regarding the management of their illness
  • persistent difficulty with anxiety, delirium, depression, nausea, anorexia or constipation
  • recurrent hospitalizations
  • no or little improvement after treatment for MI or stroke
  • difficulty with the management of an illness
  • a care plan that has not provided the results hoped for by the patient and physician
  • medication costs that do not provide the intended relief and are becoming a financial hardship to the patient.

Agnes' palliative care story

Agnes was diagnosed with ovarian cancer the year her husband died. She underwent surgery with no further chemotherapy or treatments. She had just learned that the cancer had come back and spread to her bladder and abdomen.

The only family she had was a sister-in-law and nephew. She had no health care directive.

She was afraid of being in pain and didn't want to go through the ordeal that her husband did when he died of lung cancer.

Allina Health Palliative Care met with Agnes four times and provided several telephone calls from an expert nurse for symptom management and family support.

  • The palliative care nurse accompanied Agnes and her sister-in-law to her first cancer doctor visit. The nurse helped Agnes and her family understand her disease and treatments that were presented by the doctor.
  • The social worker met with Agnes, her nephew (power of attorney), and sister-in-law to discuss resources, assist in completing her health care directive, and future planning options.
  • The palliative care nurse visited a third time to provide assessment and treatment options to manage her abdominal pain and bladder spasms.
  • At the time that Agnes' quality of life started to decline, the nurse visited to discuss and assist Agnes' transition from palliative care to hospice care.
  • Agnes spent her remaining months at a care facility with hospice support.

Source: Last Acts, a national coalition to improve care and caring near the end of life
Reviewed by: Gloria Cade, RN, BSN, CHPCA, director, hospice & palliative care
First Published: 08/21/2004
Last Reviewed: 02/07/2014

How can I access palliative care?

A good first step is to call Allina Health Palliative Care at 651-635-9173. A nurse will review your circumstances on the phone and discuss ways that palliative care can help. There is no charge for this call.

If you decide our services can help, Allina Health Palliative Care will then:

  • Make an appointment to visit with you and perhaps a member of your family to understand your situation and goals for future care. This appointment may last for one to two hours.
  • Get your permission to review your medical records. She may consult other members of the care team such as the pharmacist, social worker and others to determine what would work better for you.
  • Consult with you and your doctor about findings, treatment and medication recommendations.
  • Follow up with you and your physician to monitor symptoms and well being.

The palliative care team

graphic identifying the members of a palliative care team

Allina Health Palliative Care team members work closely with the patient's doctor to provide coordinated physical, emotional and spiritual care. This care is tailored to the needs of patient and family.

The registered nurse has advanced training in managing symptoms of advanced illnesses. The patient's care is coordinated with your doctor, family and other care providers.

The social worker coordinates community resources and emotional concerns are addressed.

The spiritual care coordinator is experienced in offering spiritual and emotional support to patients and their caregivers. This listening presence and spiritual guidance is respectful of each person's strengths and religious beliefs

The pharmacist is an expert at pain management with the right drugs at the proper doses. They make certain that the interaction of the drugs do not cause any unintentional or harmful effects.

The patient's doctor actually orders the medications and treatments as recommended by the palliative care team. Doctors use palliative care specialists to give special attention to their patients who need more help and care than other patients


Source: The Center to Advance Palliative Care
Reviewed by: Gloria Cade, RN, BSN, CHPCA, director, hospice & palliative care
First Published: 08/20/2004
Last Reviewed: 02/07/2014

Benefits of palliative care

Patients and families have reported these benefits as a result of the palliative care they received from Allina Health Palliative Care:

For more information, call Allina Health Palliative Care at
651-635-9173.

  • decreased pain, improvement of appetite, less anxiety, less fatigue, more strength
  • guidance to make decisions to enjoy quality of life
  • information to understand test results and treatment options
  • easier to understand and manage family issues and even find meaning in the illness
  • help to understand and face the changing goals of care as the illness progresses
  • setting realistic goals for improvement for the patient and family
  • giving more support and objective advice to the family caregivers especially related to ethical concerns
  • improving the safety of the patient by eliminating potential medication errors
  • relief from worry, anxiety or depression that may stem from financial concerns, caregiver issues or living situations
  • information about community services, resources and residential care settings
  • contacting insurance company to determine coverage for the patient.

Source: The Center to Advance Palliative Care
Reviewed by: Gloria Cade, RN, BSN, CHPCA, director, hospice & palliative care
First Published: 08/04/2004
Last Reviewed: 02/07/2014

Payment and insurance information

To pay your Allina Health Palliative Care bill call,
612-262-1779
or pay your bill now.

Allina Health Palliative Care is covered for people who are patients with UCARE Minnesota, Option Care, Intrepid Home Care, Wilder Home Health and Allina Health Home Health.

Intrepid payment requires a "skilled need" and for the patient to be homebound.

Medicare and Medicaid do not pay for palliative care services at this time, though there has been discussion about including it in those government health care plans.

Some people pay for palliative care themselves.

The initial palliative care consultation is with the patient and caregivers, it includes:

  • a comprehensive review of the medical records
  • a written recommendation for the physician and the patient regarding changes to improve the care plan.

Follow up calls or visits are provided based on the need for them.