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Palliative care

  • What is palliative care?

    Palliative care is:

    • expert medical care for pain and other bothersome symptoms
    • assistance in improving tolerance of cancer treatments
    • a focus on quality of life and hopes for medical treatment
    • attention to social, psychological and spiritual concerns

    Palliative care can help increase a person's ability to cope with the rigors of treatment and maintain the best possible physical and emotional functioning. Palliative care can help relieve symptoms such as:

    • pain
    • nausea
    • shortness of breath
    • emotional and social challenges
    • anxiety
    • depression
    • mouth sores
    • constipation
    • diarrhea
    • fatigue
    • poor appetite
    • spiritual distress


    The services we provide include:

    • medical evaluation and treatment of symptoms
    • discussion about the burdens and benefits of treatment of disease, goals for medical treatment, and the social, physiological or spiritual challenges of living with a  serious illness
    • referrals to other physicians, psychologists, cancer rehabilitation assessment, physical therapy, spiritual care, nutrition services and integrative health therapies (At Abbott Northwestern and Mercy hospitals, integrative health therapies are provided in partnership with the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing.)

    Will my own physician(s) continue to be involved?
    Yes. Our team will provide consultation to your regular physician who will continue to manage your care. 

    How does palliative care differ from hospice?
    Palliative care is provided throughout your illness, in conjunction with active treatment like radiation therapy or other medical therapy. If needed, we can help with a transition to hospice.

    End-of-life care
    If an illness progresses to an advanced stage where end of life care is necessary, treatment to relieve pain and other symptoms continues. The goal is to help all individuals live life to its fullest.

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    Palliative Medicine Clinic – Abbott Northwestern Hospital

    Palliative Care – Mercy Hospital

    Palliative Care – United Hospital