Learn more about palliative care services

Palliative care is a medical specialty that complements the other care patients receive during a life-threatening illness. The goal of palliative care is simple: Allow the patient to live their life to the fullest during treatment.

At UPMC, the UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute is the hub for clinical services in palliative care. Its mission is to provide high-quality, coordinated care for patients with serious illnesses. Services are available in the hospital, via outpatient clinics, in skilled nursing facilities, and at home.

“Any sort of exacerbation that a patient may be experiencing of a health care problem — whether they’re leaving the hospital, or they never went to the hospital — can help a team of clinicians supporting the physician,” Dr. Keith Lagnese, MD, UPMC Presbyterian, tells WPXI. “Typically, a nurse, social worker, and physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy can all contribute to a patient’s care.”

November is Hospice and Palliative Care Month

Palliative care addresses:

• Quality of life, however, that may be defined by the patient
• Management of suffering and symptoms, such as pain, anxiety, and family coping
• Decisions about how care is provided

Additionally, the UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute provides access to consistent education, training and technical assistance for health care professionals who care for people with serious illnesses.

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The Difference Between Palliative and Hospice Care

Hospice care falls under the umbrella of palliative care.

Hospice care is a specific set of services that support a patient at the end of his or her illness. Hospice also provides support for family and caregivers of the patients. It can be provided at home, in nursing facilities, and in the hospital.

Hospice addresses:

• The issues, decisions, and symptoms that come with the end-of-life process
• The patient’s and family’s ability to cope with this process
• Comfort, dignity, and quality of life
• Bereavement needs for family members

Palliative Care at UPMC

Six UPMC hospice programs serve patients and caregivers, according to geographic region:

Family Hospice and Palliative Care
Fayette Homecare and Hospice
Great Lakes Home Healthcare and Hospice
Home Nursing Agency
Jameson Hospice
Visiting Nurses Association of Venango County

Additionally, Family Hospice and Palliative Care has two inpatient hospice centers in Lawrenceville and Mt. Lebanon for short-term management of symptoms associated with life-limiting illness that cannot be managed successfully in another setting.

For more information on how hospice and palliative care may benefit your own family, call the UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute at 412-864-2897 or toll-free at 1-855-565-7146.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .

About Palliative and Supportive Institute

At the UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute, we have one goal: providing the top treatment for patients with serious, life-threatening illnesses. We want you or your loved one to have the highest quality of life, even when a cure is not possible. We will listen to your own wishes for care and build our support around you. We work closely with other UPMC health care professionals to provide complete support and services, both physical and emotional. We want to help you live with dignity and grace in life’s most difficult moments. Visit our website to find a provider near you.