The Maine Medical Center Palliative Medicine Program provides palliative care and support to patients and families facing a serious illness. Palliative care is appropriate at any age, from pediatric to geriatric, for life-threatening or life-limiting illnesses. Care can be provided during any part of a patient’s illness and alongside disease directed and curative treatment.
What is palliative care?
Palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is specialized medical care that provides help in managing pain and other symptoms of serious illness. It also provides emotional, psychological and spiritual support to patients and their families as they plan for the future. Palliative care teams work together with primary care physicians and specialists to create individualized care plans. The goal of care is to make the quality of life better for both the patient and the family.
How does pediatric palliative care differ?
Pediatric palliative care is specialized medical care that meets the needs of infants, children and adolescents with serious illnesses as well as their families. Not all pediatric patients that receive palliative care have terminal illnesses, but all suffer from a serious medical condition that affects their quality of life.
Our team is comprised of specially trained professionals including:
- Advanced Practice Practitioners
- Social Workers
- Spiritual Care
Specific needs vary depending on a patient’s illness and situation. We work closely with patients and their families to determine the services that will provide the greatest benefit. These services may include:
- Management of pain and other symptoms
- Assistance with goals of care conversations
- Planning for future care needs
- Emotional and spiritual support
- Integrative therapies such as acupuncture, reiki, massage and osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT)
- Bereavement support and referral
- Completion of Advanced Care Planning documents such as living wills, advanced care directives and POLST (Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment)
Who can receive palliative care services?
The Palliative Care Program welcomes patients and family members who are facing a serious or life-threatening illness. Referrals should be made through your physician. Services are provided in the inpatient setting at Maine Medical Center or in the ambulatory Palliative and Supportive Care Clinic, located at 66 Bramhall Street, Portland, Maine.
Will the patients’ physician still be involved in their care?
Yes. The team works closely with the patient’s primary physician who will continue to direct their care.
How does palliative care differ from hospice care?
The Palliative Care Program is located both in the hospital and in the ambulatory setting. The Palliative Care team provides care during any part of a patient’s illness beginning at the time of diagnosis and onward through the end of life. Hospice care is provided to those patients who are nearing the end of life.