Palliative Care Service
Symptom Management and Palliative Care Program (SYMPAC) provides inpatient consultation to patients requiring palliative care services at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
In addition, SYMPAC provides outpatient palliative
care services through its clinic located at the
Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, as well
as at the Penn Pain Medicine Center.
Palliative care is an approach that is intended to improve the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness. This care can be used to alleviate the side effects of curative treatments, such as relieving the nausea associated with chemotherapy. While many patients receiving palliative care have been diagnosed with cancer, patients with other chronic disorders also may benefit from palliative care. This includes patients with progressive pulmonary disorders, renal disease, chronic heart failure or progressive neurological conditions.
Palliative care can be integrated with medical care intended to cure disease, and is not intended to be used only when a patient has terminal disease. In fact, more patients each year are cancer survivors, but many cancer survivors suffer from chronic pain as a result of the surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy necessary to cure their cancer. These patients also can benefit from palliative care.
There often is confusion between palliative care and hospice. Both palliative care and hospice share similar goals of therapy. However, in the United States, the term hospice is often used to refer to integrated programs intended to provide care to patients who can no longer benefit from curative treatment and whose life expectancy is six months or less. Patients receive palliative care in a hospice program, but it is important to note that patients can also receive palliative care even when not enrolled in a hospice program, and while receiving care intended to cure a disease or disorder.