Tools for Patients and Families Frequently Asked Questions What is palliative care? Palliative care is a medical specialty devoted to caring for the seriously ill by: Providing relief from pain and other physical symptoms Improving quality of life Providing support to patients and their family and friends who love and care for them Assisting the patient, family and staff with difficult medical decision-making Palliative Care is NOT the same thing as hospice? Palliative care is offered alongside of any and all active treatments of a patient’s serious illness. Hospice, on the other hand, is for patients who are terminally ill (likely to live 6 months or less) and who are no longer going to receive active treatment for their underlying disease. Palliative and hospice care share many core values and philosophies. They both aggressively treat pain and symptoms of the disease, offer support to the patient and family, share a commitment to achieving the best quality of life, and provide expertise of a multidisciplinary team. However, Palliative Care provides this support along side all other desired medical treatments, whereas on hospice, this symptomatic treatment and support is the exclusive focus. I like what I’m learning about palliative care. How can I receive these benefits for myself or a seriously ill family member who is in the hospital? Tell your doctor or nurse you would like the University of Rochester Palliative Care team to provide a consultation, and they will contact our team. What are advance directives and where can I find them? An Advance Directive allows patients to make end-of-life choices about their future care if they lose the ability to make decisions for themselves. These documents do not become active unless the patient loses the ability to make decisions for themselves. There are two kinds of advance directives, a Health Care Proxy and a Living Will: The Health Care Proxy allows an individual to designate a person to make decisions on his or her behalf if the individual becomes unable to do so. The Health Care Proxy should be knowledgeable about the patient's wishes and values, and should make decisions as he/she believes the patient would make under the circumstances. More resources are available on the NYS Dept of Health site. The Living Will allows an individual to set out his or her philosophy about medical decision-making if the individual loses the ability to speak for himself or herself in the future. It can be as general or as specific as one wants. I would like to keep my extended family and friends informed throughout the course of my loved one's hospital stay. Is there a way to do this easily? You can create a free, personalized website that supports and connects loved ones during critical illness, treatment and recovery. If you have a friend or family member who is a patient at Strong Memorial Hospital, you can send them a written message. Volunteers will print out and hand deliver messages sent to the address above directly to patients' rooms. Do I need to be in the hospital to receive palliative care? No. Patients with serious illnesses can be cared for as outpatients by physicians who specialize in palliative care. Drs.Tim Quill, David Korones, Robert Horowitz, Erin Denney-Koelsch and Joel Kent provide consultations and care. They are prepared to see adults with a wide range of medical and palliative care problems. In addition, outpatient pediatric consults can be arranged with Drs. David Korones and Erin Denney-Koelsch on a case-by-case basis. To learn more about outpatient consultations or to inquire about other available palliative care services, please call (585) 273-1154.