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Palliative Care

Doctor holding a patient's hand

Palliative care is supportive care for patients with a serious illness. The goal is to relieve pain, symptoms and stress and to provide the best quality of life for patients and their families. It may be provided through all states of illness and at the same time as curative medical treatments. 

When is the right time for palliative care?
Palliative care helps through all stages of illness. It is best introduced early in your care, and may be provided at the same time as curative medical treatments.

How is palliative care provided?
At Suburban Hospital, palliative care is provided by a multidisciplinary team that works closely with your primary physician to address all of your concerns. The team is led by a palliative care physician — who also practices acupuncture — and includes a pain and palliative care nurse practitioner and massage therapist. The team works closely, when needed, with a dietitian, chaplain and other support services.

What can I expect from the palliative care team?

  • Relief from distressing symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping
  • Improved ability to carry on with your daily life
  • Improved ability to tolerate medical treatments
  • Complementary and alternative treatment options including massage and acupuncture
  • Better understanding of your condition and your choices for medical care
  • Emotional and spiritual support for both patient and family members
  • Help navigating the health care system and arranging support after discharge

Is palliative care the same as hospice care?
No. Hospice care is meant for patients at the end stages of disease. Palliative care may be introduced at any stage of serious illness.

How do I request a palliative care consultation?
Talk to your physician or nurse. For further information, please contact the palliative care team at 301-896-3139.