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Patients & Families

"Palliative care is the total, holistic support that we give to patients, families and caregivers that are experiencing serious, life-threatening illness.  We focus on living every day to its fullest no matter the circumstances."

- Tammie E. Quest, MD, Director, Emory Palliative Care Center

We are glad that you have chosen to learn more about the services of the Emory Palliative Care Center.  Palliative care is comprehensive treatment of the discomfort, symptoms and stress of serious illness, but it does not replace your primary care treatment. The Palliative Care team coordinates closely with your health care team as we help prevent and ease suffering, and improve your quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is Palliative Care appropriate for me or my loved one?

Anytime.  It’s never too early to begin a palliative care approach to illness.  In fact, palliative care can be provided at the same time as all other treatment for your illness and does not depend upon the course of your disease. Medical evidence shows that patients that receive the benefits of a palliative care team, even in the case of terminal illness, have longer lives with higher quality.

Is Palliative Care the same as hospice care?

No.  Palliative care is sometimes confused with hospice care.  Palliative care is provided to patients in any stage of serious illness, whereas hospice care is the intense palliative care provided in the setting of terminal illness when the prognosis may be six months or less if the disease runs its usual course.  While palliative care includes hospice care, not all palliative care is hospice care.  If your medical team recommends palliative care services, this does not mean that they are recommending hospice care for you.  Hospice care is recommended on an individual basis, depending on your case.

How is Palliative Care delivered to me or my loved one?

Palliative care is delivered by a team of many different disciplines.  Our Palliative Care teams are made up of physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, mental health professionals, therapists and pharmacists who help patients with illness such as stroke, heart and lung disease, cancer and HIV.

What are the benefits of having a Palliative Care team involved in my or my loved one’s care?

Palliative care is the attention to and treatment of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms, regardless of the cause.  Many needs of a patient can be served by our team, including control of pain and non-pain symptoms (such as shortness of breath or nausea/vomiting), spiritual support, psychological/mental health support (such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder), family counseling, social support, communication between patients/providers/families, and more.

Our Palliative Care team understands that pain and other symptoms affect your quality of life and that the stress of what you’re going through can have a big impact on your family.  It is our hope is that we can help guide you and your family during serious illness.  The Palliative Care team will not only focus on you or your loved one, but your entire family.  In particular, children or grandchildren may exhibit difficulty coping with the serious illness being experienced by adults.  The Palliative Care team will offer support to children as well.

How are Palliative Care providers trained?

Our teams hold advanced training in Palliative Care that other healthcare professionals in the hospital or clinics do not typically hold.  It is with this specialized training that these palliative care professionals are able to help patients and families most.

Is Palliative Care Covered by Insurance?

Most insurance plans, private and public (such as Medicare or Medicaid), cover all or part of the palliative care treatment you receive in the hospital setting.  If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact us at one of our clinical sites.  We are here to help you through the entire process.

You may reach the Palliative Care program by calling the following:

Emory University Hospitals/Grady Memorial Hospital:  Renee Burwell, (404) 712-8979

Atlanta VA Medical Center: William Roush, NP Program Coordinator, (404) 321-6111, extension 4375