Palliative Care

Our goal is to promote the best possible quality of life for patients and their families living with a serious or life-threatening illness.

Contact Us

Lauren Michalakes, MD

Hospice and Palliative Care Medical Director

207-921-8301

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative Care (pronounced pal-lee- uh-tiv) is specialized care that focuses on providing relief from the pain, symptoms, and stress of a serious illness. It also provides emotional, psychological, and spiritual support to patients and their families as they plan for the future.

Our Palliative Care Team works together with a patient’s other doctors, providing an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment.

What is a serious illness?

A serious illness can be any medical condition that has advanced to the point where there is no longer possibility of a cure such as advanced cancer, advanced heart, lung or kidney disease, Alzheimer’s dementia, ALS and more.

Is palliative care right for me?

Having a palliative care consult may be right for you if:

  • you are living with a serious illness that is causing you pain, stress, or other uncomfortable symptoms such as nausea, shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of appetite, insomnia
  • you would like to better understand and receive guidance about your illness and treatment options
  • you would like to tailor your medical care to be in alignment with your values, goals and wishes
  • you would like assistance in planning for future care needs

What Services are Available?

Our services vary depending upon your specific situation and illness. We work closely with you and your family to find the services that will provide you with the greatest benefit. These services may include:
  • Management of pain and other symptoms
  • Assistance in helping you determine what is important to you and what your goals are
  • Helping you plan for future care needs
  • Helping you understand your illness, the disease process, and possible complications that may arise
  • Assisting with advance care directives such as Medical Power of Attorney and POLST (Physician’s Orders for Life Sustaining Treatments)
  • Providing you with community resources for
    • additional supportive services for home setting
    • emotional and spiritual support and counseling
    • grief and bereavement support and counseling
  • integrative therapies such as massage, acupuncture, Reiki
  • Assistance with transitioning to end of life care if or when appropriate

How does palliative care differ from hospice care?

Palliative Care services can become involved at any stage of a serious or life-threatening illness, where as hospice care is reserved for patients who are nearing the end of life.

Will my insurance pay for palliative care?

Most insurance plans, including Medicare and MaineCare, cover palliative care. We welcome patients (and their families) who are living with a serious or life-threatening illness, and even if your insurance does not cover palliative care, we will help you regardless of your ability to pay.

How can I get a palliative care consult?

You can ask for a palliative care consult from your doctor or other health care provider that is involved in your care. We are located at Pen Bay Medical Center and at Waldo County General Hospital and consult with patients who are in the hospital as well as in the outpatient setting. We will communicate and collaborate with your doctor to provide you with the best possible supportive care.

Helpful links

Sussman House

Sussman House provides care for people whose symptoms are not well managed at home and are in need of hospice care as they near the end of their life. 

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