At Mid Coast Hospital, palliative care specialists are available
to assist health care and social workers in relieving the pain
and suffering of their patients through our Palliative and Supportive
Palliative care is most important for patients with advanced or
serious illnesses. This type of care helps patients manage a wide
range of symptoms, including pain, nausea, anxiety and shortness
The program also supports patients emotionally and spiritually.
Specially trained caregivers help patients cope with personal and
family issues, adjust to new physical limitations and maintain
a good quality of life.
Palliative care specialists often meet with patients, their healthcare
teams and their families to discuss the current medical situation
and what to expect in the future. They can help patients and families
with decisions that may need to be made, including:
- What are the patient’s
goals? How does the care plan fit with those goals?
- Where is the best place for the patient to receive care?
- Has the patient written down his or her wishes in a healthcare
directive or living will?
- Who will make decisions about the
patient’s care if he or
she is unable to communicate?
The palliative care program encourages patient and family involvement
in care planning. Palliative care specialists and the healthcare
team can help families identify the resources they need and discuss
ways to make this time as meaningful as possible.
Hospice care is one kind of palliative care specifically for
those in the last six months of life. Palliative care may begin
at a much earlier stage, often while doctors are aggressively
treating a disease. This is called “supportive care.” As
individuals get closer to the end of life, they may choose to
move into hospice care. Hospice care will continue to relieve
suffering and focus on quality of life.
If you wish to create a palliative care plan, ask your physician
or nurse for more information. Or call Mid Coast Hospital’s
Palliative and Supportive Care Program at 373-6383.
team of interdisciplinary specialists is made up of Thomas J. Keating,
MD, left, medical oncologist and palliative care physician;
Debbie Demosthenes, BSN, RN, CRNH, palliative care and hospice
nurse; and Deb Alpern, LCSW, clinical social worker, below. They
are available to work with your doctor and nurses to help you and
Our palliative care team is supported by many other professionals
including nurses, social workers, chaplains, therapists, pharmacists,
and a nurse specialist in pain management.
- Hospital Consultation Team
- Palliative and Supportive Care Volunteers
- Advance Care Planning
- Palliative Care Advisory Committee
- Pastoral Care Volunteers
- Community and Professional