Palliative care is a recognized medical specialty that can assist you and your patients with serious illness and complex and challenging symptom burden. However, palliative care is not just for end of life.
Studies have proven that engaging palliative care earlier in a patient’s diagnosis improves their quality of life, reduces unwanted admissions, hospital length of stay, decreases the use of non-beneficial treatment, and in some cases can extend a patient’s life expectancy overall.
Patients and their loved ones can expect the following from our palliative care professionals:
- Expert pain and symptom management
- Social, psychological, and spiritual support
- Summarizing complicated medical information for patients and their families
- Helping patients and families identify their goals for care and preferences for treatment
- Coordination and advocacy with the entire medical team and other health care professionals about the patient’s care plan
Upon discharge, referring patients and their families to ambulatory palliative care provides an opportunity for those patients to have their symptoms expertly managed in the community. Atlantic Medical Group works closely with the patient’s primary care and specialty providers to optimize their health and quality of life. Learn more
Palliative Care in Atlantic Health System Hospitals
- Morristown Medical Center
- Overlook Medical Center
- Chilton Medical Center
- Newton Medical Center
- Hackettstown Medical Center
As a primary care provider you already follow many of the core principles of palliative care. Specialized community-based palliative care practices are key to providing that additional layer of support with complex cases and challenging symptom management.
While caring for patients who are living with serious illness, many complex physical and psychosocial symptoms may need to be addressed. Palliative care is there working with you to maximize the quality of life for your patients and their loved ones through the entire trajectory of their illness.
Asking patients what matters to them through the end of their life starts an important conversation about their values and preferences. If a serious illness or injury occurs, this communication helps your health care team provide treatment that respects the individual’s wishes.
Health care professionals from participating long-term care facilities can access palliative care resources through the Community Palliative Care Collaborative portal.
Learn more about palliative care by reading answers to questions others have asked.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if palliative care is right for me?
Palliative care may be right for you if you have a serious illness. Serious illnesses include but are not limited to: cancer, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and many more. Palliative care is appropriate at any stage of a serious illness. You can also have this type of care at the same time as you have other treatments for your condition.
If you’re not sure, Take the quiz .
What does the palliative care team do?
Palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is specialized medical care that focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. It is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with your other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. The goal is to improve your quality of life.
To do this, the palliative care team will:
- Relieve your symptoms and distress
- Help you better understand your disease and diagnosis
- Help clarify your treatment goals and options
- Understand and support your ability to cope with your illness
- Assist you with making medical decision
- Coordinate with your other doctors
What can I expect from palliative care?
In short, you can expect that your quality of life will be improved. You will have relief from symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping. You can also expect close communication and more control over your care. Palliative care will help you carry on with daily life. It will improve your ability to go through medical treatments. And it will help you to match your goals to your treatment choices.
Will my insurance cover palliative care?
Most insurance plans cover all or part of palliative care, just as with other hospital and medical services. This is also true of Medicare and Medicaid. If costs concern you, a social worker or financial consultant from the palliative care team can help you with payment options.
Do I have to give up my own doctor?
No. The palliative care team provides an extra layer of support and works in partnership with your primary doctor.
Can I have curative treatment together with palliative care?
Yes, absolutely. Your treatment choices are up to you. You can have palliative care at the same time as treatment meant to cure you.
Who else, besides the patient, can benefit?
Everyone involved! Patients as well as family caregivers are the special focus of palliative care. Your doctors and nurses benefit too, because they know they are meeting your needs by providing care and treatment that reduces your suffering and improves your quality of life.
Where do I get palliative care?
Palliative care is available in a number of places. More and more, palliative care is available outside of the hospital in the places where you live. You, your doctor and the palliative care team can discuss outpatient palliative care or palliative care at home. Some hospitals also offer outpatient palliative care even if you have not been in the hospital. Check with your doctor. These include hospitals, outpatient clinics and at home.
Who provides palliative care?
How does palliative care help me choose the best treatment option?
When should I ask for palliative care?
Recent cancer guidelines say that cancer patients should receive palliative care early and together with their other treatments. People who are newly diagnosed with advanced cancer should receive a palliative care consult within eight weeks of their diagnosis. Read the guidelines