Palliative Care

Woman sitting with her doctor sitting outside on bench

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. This type of care is focused on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness — whatever the diagnosis.

The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the patient’s family. Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work with a patient’s health care team to provide an extra layer of support.

Palliative care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness. It can be provided together with curative treatment.

Palliative Care Is Not Hospice Care

Hospice is a type of palliative care reserved for patients who will likely die in the next six months. Palliative care is available for patients at any age and at any stage of a serious illness or event. Both hospice and palliative care focus on the patient and those closest to the patient.

The Benefits of Palliative Care

Palliative care specialists work alongside your health care providers to offer an extra layer of support for you and your family and can help to improve communication between you and your health care team. Focusing on communication helps to ensure care is being provided in a way that matches patient and family values and goals throughout the course of the illness.

Palliative care benefits include:

  • Expert treatment of your pain and other symptoms (symptoms such as poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, constipation)
  • Close, clear communication
  • Dedicated time with you and your family to consider treatment preferences and navigating the health care system
  • Assistance with coordinating your care with all your health care providers
  • Guidance in considering difficult decisions and understanding complex information
  • Emotional and spiritual support for you and your family

Palliative care experts work with other providers to help address your concerns. illnesses treated by palliative care include cancer, heart disease, lung disease, dementia, ALS, kidney disease and many others.

Requesting Palliative Care at Sibley Memorial Hospital

The Sibley Memorial Hospital Palliative Care Program consists of two options.

Inpatient consults: Available for patients in the hospital and their families. Ask your doctor or nurse to speak with a palliative care professional. For more information, call 202-400-1897

Outpatient Oncology Palliative Care and Symptom Consultation Clinic: The Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Center at Sibley Memorial Hospital now offers palliative care services in the outpatient setting. The clinic offers comprehensive management of physical, psychological and spiritual needs of cancer patients and their families, focused on improving quality of life. Patients and caregivers are encouraged to speak with their oncologists regarding the benefits of palliative care.

Support the Palliative Care Program at Sibley Memorial Hospital

Support from grateful patients and families who have received palliative care services, along with other generous philanthropic donors, assures continuation of our program and helps us to provide educational and clinical services to our patients, staff and community.

To learn more about ways to give to the Sibley Memorial Hospital Palliative Care Program, please contact the Sibley Foundation at [email protected] or 202-537-4257.

Additional Resources

Get Palliative Care has helpful information about palliative care, and provides links to additional resources.