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Cancer Center - Palliative Care

Palliative Care is medical and nursing care combined with other forms of support to provide relief from suffering no matter what its cause—physical, psychological, social or spiritual.

When is Palliative Care appropriate?

Palliative Care helps at any stage of illness. It can serve as a complement to curative treatments or be the primary focus of care. It is appropriate for any patient with a life-threatening illness as well as members of the patient’s family.

Is Palliative Care the same as Hospice Care?

No. Hospice care is designed specifically for people in the end stages of life. Palliative Care benefits patients at any stage of a serious illness.

How is Palliative Care provided?

At Sibley, Palliative Care is provided by an interdisciplinary team, led by a physician and a certified nurse practitioner. Our team approach draws on the skills and experience of professionals from nursing, social work, pharmacy, respiratory and nutrition services, pastoral counseling and others as appropriate. Members of the team work with your physician to create a comprehensive plan to ease suffering and pain whether you are the patient or a family member.
Our services include:
  • Assessment, treatment and follow-up of pain and other symptoms
  • Close communication with both patient and family
  • Guidance of patient and family as they decide on the goals of care

What are the specific benefits of Palliative Care?

  • Relief from pain
  • Relief from symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, constipation and difficulty sleeping
  • Relief from anxiety and depression during a major illness
  • Practical guidance and counsel
  • Emotional and spiritual support for both patient and family members

How do I request a consultation for Palliative Care?

Ask your physician or your nurse. For additional information, please contact the Palliative Care Services team at 202-400-1897 or by email at. 

Video: Palliative Care Pioneer Dr. Diane Meier on How People Struggle with Serious, Sometimes Terminal, Illness

As President Obama signs the landmark heathcare bill into law, we look at palliative care—the care needed by people struggling with serious illnesses. We’ll talk to a pioneer in the field, Dr. Diane Meier.
Watch the video below or click here to go to the original post on

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