Palliative Care

What is palliative care?

Palliative care was developed to relieve physical and emotional suffering that may accompany life-threatening illness.

According to the World Health Organization, palliative care is the "active total care of patients whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment. Control of pain and other symptoms and of psychological, social, and spiritual problems is paramount."

The mission of the Loma Linda University palliative care program is to provide relief of physical, emotional, and spiritual distress in those whose disease has no cure. Our goal is to help hospitalized patients and their families achieve the best quality of life possible.

Palliative care goals

  • Identification and treatment of suffering
  • Improve communication between physicians, nursing staff, patient and family
  • Assurance that the care provided meets the needs and goals of the patient
  • Promote integration and continuity as patients access hospital, nursing home and homecare settings

Who can access palliative care?

A patient does not need a diagnosis of cancer to utilize palliative care services. Anyone who has a chronic illness for which there is no cure, may be eligible for palliative care. Examples of diseases that fit this category include heart failure, chronic lung disease, renal failure and liver failure.

Palliative care is different from hospice care in that the patient is not required to have an illness with a prognosis of 6 months or less.

A patient may be a candidate for palliative care while undergoing treatments including chemotherapy and radiation.

Palliative care team's role

The hospital team consists of two physicians and one nurse practitioner. Social workers, chaplains, physical therapists and pain management personnel are also involved in the care of the patient and his or her family as needed. The primary admitting physician who cares for the patient while in the hospital remains in charge of treatment and management decisions for the patient.

What about home care visits after I am discharged?

The palliative care team does not make home visits at this time. We do, however, maintain contact with the patient by working with Loma Linda University Medical Center's home care services.

Palliative care funding

Medicare, Medi-Cal, and many private insurances cover palliative care services.

While a patient is in the hospital. The palliative care consult service is funded by Loma Linda University Medical Center and the Department of Family Medicine. Memorial gifts and other donations are gratefully appreciated.

To make a referral

To make a referral, or for more information contact the department of family medicine at (909) 558-8193 or ask your physician if palliative care may be appropriate for you or your loved one.