Supportive Care at the Joan Karnell Cancer Center
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Palliative Care Program

The Palliative Care Program at the Abramson Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital is an innovative, out-patient based service that offers an extra layer of support to patients and families from the point of diagnosis throughout the course of illness.

What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual. (World Health Organization, 2012)

A cancer diagnosis and its treatment can be overwhelming. Usually patients and family members have many questions and concerns. The Palliative Care program helps patients deal with the physical and emotional distress caused by the cancer diagnosis and treatment. The less distress that patients have, the more energy they can direct toward recovery.

The Goals of the Palliative Care Program

  • Optimize function by providing pain control and symptom management.
  • Enhance quality of life for patient and family by meeting physical, psychosocial, spiritual and practical needs.
  • Provide help with decision making by providing information regarding medical condition and treatment options.
  • Provide opportunities for personal growth.


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Need an appointment? Request one online 24 hours/day, 7 days/week or call 800-789-PENN (7366) to speak to a referral counselor.

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