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Palliative Care

Being faced with a serious, chronic or life limiting illness can affect you or your loved one in many ways.

Doctor holding patient hand

HSHS St. Mary's Hospital is pleased to offer a Palliative Care Program that can help:

  • Those with serious, chronic, or life-limiting illness that are having difficulty with symptom management
  • Those with life-altering health events
  • Those experiencing many hospital admissions
  • Those with changing care goals


The philosophy of palliative care is to focus on quality of life issues, symptom management, communication, and emotional and spiritual wellness while continuing some form of therapy for the chronic illness itself. Treatment decisions are made in the context of maximizing quality of life while understanding that the ultimate disease outcome may not change.

Palliative Care can complement active treatment of your disease or include hospice and is beneficial at any stage of illness. Palliative Care is an evidence-supported means to meet the needs of those who are suffering from serious, chronic or life limiting illness.

The Palliative Care Team, a team of health care professionals, works with the patient and the patient’s primary care provider to establish a plan of care based on the patient’s wishes and resources available. The patient and family are always a part of the care planning process. We work closely with other Palliative Care services in the community should you need this once you leave the hospital.

The team may include your health care provider, palliative care advanced practice nurses, case managers, pharmacy, child life services, counseling, massage therapy and pastoral care.

Please let your health care provider know if you are interested in a Palliative Care referral. 

Some of the ways that Palliative Care can meet your needs include:

  • Treatment of your unique symptom management needs, including but not limited to: pain, nausea, constipation, trouble sleeping, anxiety, depression, confusion, and shortness of breath
  • Focusing on improving your quality of life and reducing hospitalizations
  • Helping to make health care decisions and set personal goals
  • Helping with communication among the patient, family members, and staff about treatment goals
  • Discussing advance directive planning and code status
  • Providing comfort and support during a life altering illness or injury
  • Listening and support for your caregivers
  • Addressing spiritual and emotional needs of patients and families
  • Assisting with the plan after you leave the hospital