Palliative Care (Comfort Care)

Palliative Care (Comfort Care)

Palliative care focuses on comfort, dignity, and choice for those with chronic illnesses. Palliative care is broader than hospice care.  Hospice care is designed for those who likely have six months or less to live.  The hospice team provides comfort care where the person lives, rather than in the hospital. Palliative care does not have these restrictions.  Palliative care can be helpful any time during an illness, even if someone is receiving treatments such as chemotherapy or is in the hospital.

John Muir Health’s Palliative Care Services

At John Muir Health, Palliative Care is a consulting service for patients who are in the hospital. Our team includes doctors, nurses, social workers, case managers, and spiritual care specialists.  Our goal is to assist you and your loved ones to identify your treatment choices and goals for medical care.  The team will help turn your wishes into a hospital care plan. The palliative care physician and nurses can also suggest medications to help with symptoms, while you continue your medical therapy.  The palliative care team provides recommendations only.  The team works with, but does not replace, your hospital physician.  

How Palliative Care Consults Work

When we meet with you, we’ll want to get a thorough understanding of your current medical condition.  We’ll discuss with you the benefits and risk of possible treatment options and  explore your hopes for the future and goals of medical care.

Our team will discuss future care needs and residential alternatives following hospital discharge and provide recommendations for relief of symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, nausea, constipation, fatigue, or loss of appetite.  We can also offer assistance with advance care planning, including completion of the POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) form and support and help in making informed medical decisions.

Comfort Care Suites

For those patients with a life expectancy of less than 48 hours, we offer a palliative care comfort suite at each hospital. Comfortably-furnished, these rooms provide fold-out beds and other amenities so family members can stay around the clock.  Palliative care, spiritual care, and other members of the social services team are available for patient and family support.

Getting Started

If you would like a palliative care consultation for you or a family member, speak to your hospital physician.  A medical order from your physician is needed for consultation.  The palliative care team is available for all in-hospital patient care units. Service hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM-5:00 PM, excluding holidays.

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