Palliative care medicine in Virginia

HCA Virginia hospitals provide a specially trained team of physicians, nurses and other specialists who work together to provide our patients comprehensive palliative care. We focus on relieving pain, symptoms and stress provoked by serious illnesses. It is our aim to improve the overall quality of life for our patients and their families.

For more information about our palliative care services, call our free, 24/7 Consult-A-Nurse® line.

Palliative care vs. hospice care

Palliative care provides patients relief from pain that is typically caused by a serious illness, regardless of the stage or diagnosis of the disease. Unlike hospice care, which is provided as end-of-life support, palliative care can be provided at any age, for any serious illness and alongside curative treatment.

Our palliative care teams take the time to talk to you and learn about your personal needs so they can provide the best treatment options. They use a multidisciplinary approach, which ensures all your doctors and caretakers are aware of your health goals. This provides you with more overall control of your treatment plan.

Conditions that can be helped with palliative care

Palliative care is beneficial for numerous illnesses affecting children and adults. Some include:

Symptoms that can be treated with palliative care

Our caring, patient-centered team works closely with you and your family to improve your symptoms. We provide solutions for:

  • Anorexia
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain
  • Trouble sleeping

FAQs about palliative care

We know you may have questions about palliative care beyond what conditions are applicable and what symptoms can be helped by these services. Here are other commonly asked questions:

Is palliative care appropriate for me?

If you or a loved one has one of the conditions listed above and is experiencing corresponding symptoms, palliative care should be a consideration if you or they:

  • Has a prolonged stay in the hospital without signs of progress
  • Has physical or emotional pain that is not under control
  • Needs help understanding the disease process and coordinating care
  • Needs holistic care (looking at the entire person and addressing all considerations of treatment and care)
  • Needs to establish goals of care and consider further steps for treatment
  • Needs to establish a process for making decisions on life-prolonging treatment such as a do not resuscitate (DNR) or allow natural death order
  • Wants help with advance care planning or obtaining a living will

Will my insurance cover palliative care?

Most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover palliative care. If costs concern you, a social worker or financial consultant from HCA Virginia can help you explore options.

Who makes up my palliative care team?

Our palliative care team works closely with your primary care doctor to determine a care plan that best improves your quality of life. Our experienced palliative care team consists of:

  • Doctors and advanced practice nurses with palliative care expertise
  • Social workers
  • Pharmacists
  • Nutritionists
  • Counselors
  • Clergy

How do I prepare for palliative care?

To prepare for your first consultation appointment, we advise you to bring the following:

  • A friend or family member who will help you take notes and understand what you will need as care proceeds
  • A list of supplements and medications you use
  • A list of symptoms you are experiencing
  • Any advance directives and living wills to file along with your paperwork

This information helps our team tailor your palliative care plan to what matters most to you. They can then provide recommendations for certain programs and resources that will benefit your individual needs.

We are here to answer any questions you may have about your treatment options. Throughout your care, we will remain committed to helping you make decisions in line with your personal goals and values while providing relief from your symptoms.

What happens when I leave the hospital?

When you leave the hospital, our palliative care team will help you make a successful transition to your home, hospice or the next level of care.