Palliative Care Services

In keeping with the mission of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the palliative care team strives to provide holistic care that addresses the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of patients and their families. Palliative Care can be incorporated into a patient’s standard treatment at any point in the course of their serious illness, from diagnosis to the final stages.

We offer inpatient consultation and outpatient clinic visits.

Depending on a patient’s needs, the palliative care team may offer one or more of the following services:

  • Treatment to relieve pain or other uncomfortable symptoms such as shortness of breath, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping
  • Support in coping with the changes resulting from the illness
  • Assistance with treatment choices and decisions, helping patients and families to reflect on what is most important to them and aligning their treatment with their priorities
  • Help in navigating the health care system and planning for care after the hospital
  • Bereavement education and support

The Palliative Care Volunteer Visitor Program is an additional resource for patients and their families while in the hospital.

While hospitalized, some patients struggle with the experience of feeling isolated from their usual supports or have few such supports, and their sense of well-being is enhanced significantly by the availability of informal visitors–to talk, just sit for company, read aloud from a book or magazine, watch television, or listen to music with the patient.

The Palliative Care Volunteer Visitor Program is a selective volunteer program aimed at easing the experience of isolation through presence and companionship. Volunteers are trained to provide companionship in a variety of ways for patients who can interact, as well as those who cannot. Palliative Care Volunteers also receive special training in providing a supportive presence for those patients in the medical center who are dying without the advantage of family or friends at hand.

Palliative Care Consultations

If you feel that you or a loved one could benefit from a consultation, please speak to your medical team (physician, nurse or social worker).

  • Inpatient consultation services: Monday–Friday, 9:00 am–5:00 pm; we are also available on weekends to help hospital teams manage urgent symptoms
  • Outpatient clinic appointments: Tuesdays, 8:00 am–12:00 pm; Wednesdays, 1:00 pm–5:00 pm