Frequently Asked Questions


What is the difference between Palliative care and hospice?

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.  Both palliative care and hospice care provide comfort, but palliative care can begin at diagnosis, and at the same time as treatment, while hospice care begins when aggressive treatment of the disease is stopped and when it is clear that the person is not going to survive the illness.


Does Palliative Medicine mean I am going to die?

Patients panic when they hear “palliative care” and think it means they are dying. But palliative isn't only for people who are terminally ill, and it is not the same as hospice care. Palliative care is care for patients and families dealing with a chronic life-limiting illness.


Why are clinic appointments so long?

You and your family will see up to five different providers during your appointment to attend to the many aspects that may affect your disease. These providers include a physician, possibly a physician fellow or advanced practice provider, a social worker, a nurse, and a spiritual care provider.


Why do I need to see a Spiritual Care Provider if I am not religious?

One aspect of coping with a chronic disease is the suffering created that is non-physical.

Our spiritual care provider may help you with:

  • questions of meaning, purpose, and hope
  • sources of comfort, relaxation, and strength
  • ethical considerations
  • core values that impact medical care
  • grief and loss issues
  • the need for non-religious rituals of healing and closure, etc.
  • also may help you return to a religion that once provided you comfort and you would like to re-engage with

What can I do to prepare for my appointment?
Come with an open mind and a willingness to share your story. The more we get to know each other, the better we will be able to care for you and help you care for yourself and your family.

How often should I come back for a return appointment?

As often as you need. If you are experiencing a physical or existential (mental) crisis, this may be as often as every two to four weeks until you are feeling better. If things are very stable in your disease then every six months is recommended. The average follow-up time is every three months for our patients.


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