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Palliative Care

Palliative Care

Palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is specialized care for people living with serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of an illness. At Memorial Health System, our Palliative Care team is committed to improving quality of life for both the patient and the family.

Working in partnership with the patient’s other providers, the palliative care team provides:

  • Time to devote to intensive family meetings and patient/family counseling
  • Skilled communication about what to expect in the future to ensure that care is matched to the goals and priorities of the patient and the family
  • Expert management of complex physical and emotional symptoms
  • Coordination and communication of care plans among all providers and across all settings

Decatur Memorial Hospital provides palliative care services to inpatients and their families. The goal is to prevent and relieve suffering while supporting the best quality of life regardless of the stage of your disease. The goals that you and your family establish will then guide the medical team.

Palliative care is not the same as hospice care. Palliative care is not dependent on a patient’s prognosis and can be appropriate at any point during a serious or life-threatening illness. It can be provided alongside curative care.

Benefits of palliative care

Palliative care helps patients and families achieve the best quality of life by:

  • Assisting in establishing and navigating their goals
  • Providing pain and symptom management
  • Facilitating family meetings
  • Participating in and coordinating complex case management
  • Increasing support/coping needs
  • Providing education


Who is involved in palliative care?

  • Palliative care specialist (RN)
  • Primary physician
  • Physicians who have consulted on the patient’s care
  • Case management
  • Dietitians
  • Therapy (PT and OT)
  • Pharmacy
  • Pastoral care
  • Ethics
  • Other disciplines as needed

You and your family may benefit from a palliative care consult if you:

  • Are experiencing pain and other symptoms
  • Have a chronic illness with frequent hospitalizations and decrease in functional status
  • Need assistance in establishing goals of care
  • Have a prolonged hospital stay of five days or more without progress
  • Have a prolonged stay in the intensive care unit without progress or with documented poor prognosis
  • Have a need for psychological, emotional and spiritual support
  • Need support for family conferences

How can I request palliative care?

Ask your physician or someone on the medical team for referral. For more information, call us at 217-876-4691