Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious or life-threatening illness from the time of diagnosis and throughout the course of illness.
At the University of Texas Medical Branch, we believe that our primary focus is patient-centered care with dignity. We seek to enhance patient care primarily by focusing on quality of life and alleviating suffering and symptom burden, especially since caring for those with advanced illness, including the dying, are essential aspects of our mission and values.
UTMB Palliative Medicine Consult Service functions as a consultation service to provide ongoing consultations, support, and education to hospital professionals to improve the care of patients with advanced stages of illness, as well as their loved ones. We seek to provide symptom management and relief from suffering, enhance communication about illness and death, and increase the quality of living for patients and their families. The team will help make recommendations for the coordination of care where needed and assist the primary healthcare team, patients, and families in the delivery of safe, excellent, compassionate, and seamless care throughout the continuum of treatment.
Palliative care is:
- Appropriate when prognosis is limited and the focus of care is the quality of life.
- Beneficial when provided over time to patients based on their needs, along with other treatments that align with patient’s goals of care.
- Offered in all care settings and by various organizations, such as physician practices, health systems, cancer centers, dialysis units, home health agencies, hospices, and long-term care providers.
- Focused on what is most important to the patient, family, and caregivers, assessing their goals and preferences and determining how best to achieve them.
- Interdisciplinary to attend to the holistic care needs of the patient and their identified family and caregivers.
Palliative Care at UTMB attends to the physical, functional, psychological, practical, and spiritual consequences of a serious illness. It is a person- and family-centered approach to care, providing people living with serious illness relief from the symptoms and stress of an illness.