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Palliative Care

Palliative Medicine Services at Roper St. Francis Healthcare exists to improve the quality of life of those living with a life-threatening illness.

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Patient Information

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. Palliative care is an approach to care that focuses on the whole person, not just their disease, expressly tailored to the patient and his or her family’s needs and wishes. The goal is to prevent or treat, as early as possible, the symptoms and side effects of the disease and its treatment.

Is Palliative Care the same as Hospice Care?

Palliative care is not the same as hospice care and is appropriate for people of any age at any point in an illness. It can be delivered along with treatments that are meant to cure you.

Palliative care is typically provided by palliative medicine team that includes doctors, nurses, social workers and chaplains. The team works in partnership with your primary doctor and can see you in the hospital or at your home.

Is Palliative Care Right for You?

Any patient who has a serious illness with an unpredictable prognosis such as advanced dementia, lung, heart, kidney disease or cancer can benefit from the many aspects of palliative care. Palliative Care is best introduced early in the course of treatment, but it can help patients at all stages of an illness.

Palliative care is appropriate whenever there is an underlying serious or life-threatening illness and:

  • There is a distressing physical symptom, such as pain, nausea or loss of appetite
  • There is a difficult decision to be made concerning the most appropriate level of life-sustaining care
  • Assistance is required by patients and/or families in coordinating end-of-life care services

If you are in need of this service, please consult your doctor.

For more information or to speak with a member of our team, please call (843) 606-7810.

Palliative Care FAQs

  1. Who Provides Palliative Care?
    A team of trained healthcare professionals who have clinical expertise in disease process, treatment options, and symptom and pain management provides palliative care. The team can vary depending on the needs of the patient and family. In cooperation with your doctor, the Palliative Medicine team consists of the following:
    • Physicians, Board Certified in Palliative Medicine
    • Nurse Practitioner
    • Social Worker
    • Chaplain
    • Patient Representative
    • Case Manager
    • Other professionals such as pharmacists, therapists and volunteers

  2. What Role Does My Doctor Play?
    Your primary care doctor will continue to direct your care along with support provided by the Palliative Medicine team. The healthcare team works together to provide the best care for you.

  3. What type of patient benefits from palliative care?
    Any patient who has a serious illness with an unpredictable prognosis such as advanced dementia, lung, heart, kidney disease or cancer can benefit from the many aspects of palliative care. Palliative care is best introduced early in the course of treatment, but it can help patients at all stages of an illness.

  4. Who Pays for Palliative Care?
    Medicare or insurance plans will cover palliative care of patient who have been diagnosed with a serious illness. In the outpatient setting private health insurance usually covers palliative care services. Medicare and Medicaid also pay for palliative care.

  5. How does Palliative Care Begin?
    If you or a family member has been diagnosed with a serious illness, we encourage you to discuss your individual care plan, and symptom and pain management issues with your doctor. You and your doctor should discuss palliative care and whether it may be appropriate for your situation. Your doctor will determine if a referral to our consultation team is appropriate. Our team will respond promptly and review your medical history and current plan of care. We will also assess you and your family’s needs and discuss our findings with you and your doctor.

  6. Where can I get Palliative Care?
    Patients can be seen and treated by the palliative care team in two locations:
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