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Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illness, such as cancer. While the primary goal of cancer treatment is to cure or control disease, there is an equally significant need to address physical pain and symptom relief—so that the best possible quality of life is maintained for both the patient and the family during the course of cancer care.
Levine Cancer Institute recognizes the importance of palliative care and the management of distress in cancer treatment. This is why we incorporate the principles of palliative care into the treatment of all patients with cancer from the time of diagnosis—not only in the setting of advanced or terminal disease. This interdisciplinary approach allows our patients the benefits of a well rounded treatment team so they are better equipped to overcome the physical and psychological challenges associated with their illness and the pain related to cancer or the associated symptoms.
Palliative care is provided by a team including doctors, advanced practice nurses, nurses, and other specialists who work together with a patient's other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. To provide the most comprehensive care possible, our palliative care team works hand in hand with specialties such as interventional/anesthesia pain management, rehabilitation medicine, psychiatry and behavioral science, integrative medicine, chaplaincy, social work, pharmacy, wound care, radiation oncology, and neurology.
Our inpatient consultation service provides comprehensive medical assessment and focuses on the control of pain and other symptoms to ensure maximum comfort for our hospitalized patients. Our outpatient specialist clinic sees new patients and follows-up with discharged patients and continues care through regular check-ups with our palliative care team.
Our palliative care team assists individuals with a wide variety of needs. Most often, palliative care is offered to help:
- Provide expert treatment of symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite and many other symptoms;
- Devote time to listen to you, answer your questions about your disease and treatment options and matching treatments to your individual goals;
- Coordinate and share information with all of your other doctors and health providers.
- Develop and strengthen coping strategies for family members assisting in the treatment and care of their loved one
- Connect patients and families with community agencies for practical services and community resources they may need
- Offer emotional support as required or requested by the patient and family. This may include bereavement support following a patient’s death to help their family transition and adjust to living without their loved one
Any patient concerned about pain or discomfort should not hesitate to ask the treating physician about the possibility of receiving palliative care.