Hospice & Palliative Medicine at West Penn Hospital
What is Palliative Medicine?
Palliative medicine provides care and support to patients and families dealing with serious, progressive illnesses. We offer expertise in treating pain and other symptoms of illness while providing emotional support for the patient and family while they navigate through the complex and challenging health care system. Palliative medicine aims to assure that patients can remain as comfortable and active as possible through the stages of serious illness.
When is Palliative Medicine appropriate?
Palliative Medicine Services can begin at any time during the course of illness. We help families coordinate services for their loved one when they are hospitalized, require in-home palliative care or hospice services or require transfer to an inpatient facility. Early referral promotes an opportunity to discuss goals of care, minimize distressing symptoms and promote effective communication.
Palliative care may be valuable for patients who are facing serious or progressive illnesses such as:
• Kidney failure
• Chronic lung disease
• Neurologic diseases
• Heart disease
• Liver disease
• Other advanced illnesses
A diagnosis of terminal disease or cancer is not required. The palliative care team may also be called upon to help patients nearing the end of life with symptom management, goals of care and coordination of services. Palliative care recognizes and considers the unique circumstances and helps to focus care on the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs that are most important to the patient and their caregivers.
At all stages of illness, the Palliative Medicine team provides supplemental services and guidance for patients as their regular physician continues to direct their care. Patients may be referred to palliative medicine services by their physician.
What services are offered?
Palliative Medicine Services can help patients and their families, friends and caregivers cope with the physical symptoms and emotional toll of a serious illness. Palliative Medicine Services provides:
• Pain and symptom management
• Counseling on treatment choices and decisions
• Emotional and spiritual support
• Patient and family counseling
• Bereavement support and referral services
• Planning for post-hospital care
How can Palliative Care help families, friends and caregivers?
We understand the time and energy that is required to care for a patient who is very ill. Our team will talk with family and friends about health problems their loved one may face; help with decisions about future treatment and coordinate services to provide the best possible care. We have a wealth of experience in delivering comprehensive care to the community and feature nationally-recognized leadership, including a full-time medical director, board-certified in hospice and palliative medicine that can make house calls at patients’ homes or in facilities.
For more information on Palliative Medicine services, call 412.578.6808 or 412.359.3737.