5 things you need to know about Palliative Medicine at MMC/MMP

February 26, 2018
  1. Palliative medicine provides patient and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing and treating suffering. Palliative care throughout the continuum of illness involves addressing physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual needs and facilitates patient autonomy, access to information and choice. The Palliative Care Team is comprised of specialty physicians, advanced practice practitioners, social workers, chaplains and clinical ethicists.
  2. Palliative care can be provided during any part of a patient’s illness and can be alongside curative intent. The palliative care team will work closely with the patient’s primary physician and other specialists involved in the care. The team helps patients and their families navigate through the complexity of serious illness by focusing on their hopes, beliefs and personal goals. The team also provides continuity during transitions of care and long-term follow up.
  3. Palliative care is covered by insurance as with any specialty service. A patient’s physician usually makes a referral to the palliative care team, though patients and families may also request a palliative care consultation. Consultation services are provided in the inpatient setting at Maine Medical Center. Ambulatory services span from the Palliative and Supportive Care Clinic at 66 Bramhall Street to MMP specialty clinics and at times, home visits.
  4. The Palliative Care Team can help with Advanced Care Planning documents. In serious illness, a personalized care plan becomes important and the palliative care team in partnership with other advance care planning services can facilitate goals of care conversation. This conversation will facilitate completing an advance directives and/or physician orders for life sustaining treatment.
  5. Palliative care is available for patients of all ages, and at MMC/MMP, the Palliative Care Team includes pediatric specialists who make up the Pediatric Advanced Care Team (PACT). PACT includes a physician, a nurse practitioner and a social worker, who collaborate closely with child life specialists, pediatric spiritual care and a patient’s multidisciplinary medical team in order to provide support and comfort in the care of children with complex, chronic or serious illness.