Palliative Care

Palliative Care

What is palliative care?  Palliative care is care for people living with a serious illness.  It focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness—whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to improve the quality of life for both the patient and the family. 

Palliative care is provided by a team of specialists including palliative care doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains and other specialists who work together with your doctor to provide an extra layer of support in the hospital.  Palliative care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment.

How to get Palliative Care

If you are interested in receiving palliative care for your illness while in the hospital, the first step is to speak to the attending doctor who is treating you.  Palliative care focuses on improving the quality of life, helping with advance care planning discussions, and providing emotional support to patients and their families.  Be sure to explain to your attending doctor what is important to improving your quality of life and your doctor can refer you to palliative care, if appropriate.

Palliative Care at Kapiolani

Palliative Care at Kapiolani

At Kapiolani Medical Center, our palliative medicine clinicians are experts in pain management and symptom control and make your physical comfort their top priority.

Our social workers offer psychosocial and emotional support and assistance with practical needs. they also facilitate discussions surrounding values, goals and preferences set by the patient and family over time.

Our chaplains provide spiritual support to you and your family members. they can also provide you with spiritual services that respect and honor your cultural beliefs and rituals.

Together with your primary medical team, the Palliative Care Service can assist in family/team meetings and offer guidance and support with difficult treatment decisions and goal setting.

The Palliative Care Team will make a comprehensive assessment and plan for managing the physical, psychological, social and/or spiritual needs of patients and their families. The goal is to improve quality of life for patients and their families. Palliative care is appropriate at any point in your illness.

How do you know if you need palliative care?

You may want to consider palliative care if you or your loved one suffers from pain or other symptoms due to any serious, life-threatening or limiting illness; spiritual or emotional pain that is not under control;
or if you or your loved one needs help understanding the situation.

Palliative care can be very effective.

Recent studies show that patients who receive palliative care show improvement in pain and other symptoms such as nausea or shortness of breath; communication with their doctors and family members; and emotional and spiritual well-being.

Palliative care begins when you need it.

Palliative care can occur at the same time as all other treatments. It does not depend upon your prognosis. Pain and other symptoms affect your quality of life and the stress can have a big impact on your family. The Palliative Care team can help.

Getting palliative care is easy.

Ask your doctor for a referral. We work together with your primary physician so you will not have to give up your own doctor.

Here’s what you can expect with palliative care:

The palliative care service provided at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children can offer you:

  • Improved ability to tolerate medical treatments with help relieving symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation and nausea.
  • Strength to carry on with daily life by providing emotional and spiritual support.
  • Better understanding of your condition and your choices for medical care.

Palliative care is not the same as hospice care.

Hospice care is meant for people in the final months of life. Non-hospice palliative care, on the other hand, is available to you at any time during your illness. Unlike hospice, you can also receive palliative care at the same time as curative treatments.

Our Palliative Care Team

Our Palliative Care team includes a board-certified palliative medicine physician, an advanced practice registered nurse, chaplains and social workers; along with child life specialists, behavioral health specialists and complementary therapists.

Palliative care is provided by your primary physician and a team of specialists that may include:

  • Palliative medicine clinicians
  • Social workers
  • Chaplains
  • Child life specialists
  • Behavioral health specialists such as psychologists and psychiatrists
  • integrative care therapists(e.g., Healing touch and reiki)

For more information on Palliative Care at Kapiolani Medical Center, please contact your primary care physician. 

This service is available at:   Kapiolani Pali Momi Straub Wilcox


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