Palliative Care

The SMHC Palliative Care Program provides care and support to individuals who are facing a serious or life-limiting illness such as:

  • Advanced cancer
  • Lung disease
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Nervous system diseases such as ALS
  • Advanced memory loss such as Alzheimer's disease

Treatments are unique to each patient and incorporate the patient's goals, hopes, spiritual beliefs, values and cultural practices. We can provide palliative care during any part of a worsening illness, including while medicine or therapy is being given.


What is Palliative Care?

We Help Patients Live Well

Palliative care (pronounced PAL ee ha tiv) is patient and family-centered medical care focused on relief of the pain, signs of sickness and stress caused by serious illness. Our team of palliative care specialists will help you cope with and ease the signs of illness, including:

  • Fear or worry
  • Sadness
  • Loss of meaning, control, dignity, relationships
  • Breathing problems
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Feeling tired
  • Not feeling hungry
  • Mouth sores
  • Feeling sick to your stomach
  • Pain

We help patients live well. Our goal is to provide the best possible quality of life for patients and their families.

Palliative Care vs. Hospice Care

Palliative Care is Different than Hospice Care

Palliative Care is for everyone with a serious illness that keeps them from living as well as possible. Many patients continue to get healing therapy while receiving palliative care. Palliative care is right at any time during a serious illness.

When an illness has progressed to an advanced stage and life-prolonging interventions are no longer desired, Hospice Care can provide compassion, care and comfort through the end of life.

Our Services

Support Tailored to Meet Your Needs

We work closely with you to determine which services will provide the greatest benefit, taking into consideration each person's needs and preferences. These can include:

  • Advance Care planning
  • Help with treatment choices, decisions and goals
  • Emotional and spiritual support
  • Assistance with community resources

Questions We May Ask

Understanding Your Wishes

Because we focus on helping patients live as well as possible, we may ask questions like:
Do you have any signs of illness that are bothering you right now?

What gives meaning to your life?

How would you like to spend your time among work, school, family, hobbies and other activities?

How can we help you and your family cope with the changes caused by your illness?

Do you have a Health Power of Attorney, Living Will or Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST)?

Our Team

Our Focus is You

Our team of specially trained Palliative experts includes:

JoAnna Slobodnjak, MD - Physician
Dr. Slobodnjak provides both care for patients in the hospital as well as the practice setting. She is a Primary Care Provider in Internal Medicine.

Bridget Franciose, NP - Palliative Care Navigator
Bridget provides consults for hospitalized patients and guides patients through the healthcare system, ensuring that care is well coordinated, personalized and consistent with the patient's goals and values.

Nonie Freeman, Palliative Care Chaplin
Nonie assesses and addresses the spiritual needs of patients and families, with a focus on what gives individuals a sense of meaning and providing strength and comfort.

Other members of your care team might include:

  • Social Workers
  • Physical, Occupational and Respiratory Therapists
  • Dietitians


How To Get Palliative Care

Getting Palliative Care Services is Simple

To begin Palliative Care, please ask your doctor for a referral. We can help whether you are in the hospital, another healthcare setting or at home. Palliative Care is often covered by insurance and government programs.

To schedule an appointment call 207-282-3349.


  • The Conversation Project

    A public campaign addressing how individuals, families and systems address end of life care, offers a "conversation starter kit" and other resources:

Contact Us

Where You Can Reach Us

We provide hospital consultations at:

SMHC Medical Center
1 Medical Center Drive
Biddeford, ME 04005

We provide office consultations at:

SMHC Internal Medicine
46 Barra Road
Biddeford, ME 04005

To schedule an appointment call 207-282-3349.