Palliative Care Program

Counselor comforting woman

Program Overview

The Palliative Care Program at Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center at Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine and Pennsylvania Hospital is an innovative, outpatient-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?

A cancer diagnosis and its treatment can be overwhelming. Usually patients and family members have many questions and concerns. The World Health Organization defines palliative care as an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with a life-threatening illness. This is done through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification, impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.

Conditions Treated by the Palliative Care Program

Our Palliative Care Program treats those with many serious and life-threatening conditions, including cancer.

Our Program treats patients with every type of cancer including:

Why Penn's Palliative Care Program is Different

Our Palliative Care Program can help you deal with the physical, spiritual and emotional distress caused by your cancer diagnosis and treatment. The less distress you have, the more energy you can direct toward recovery.

We help to:

  • Optimize your function by providing pain control and symptom management.
  • Enhance your quality of life by meeting your physical, psychosocial, spiritual and practical needs.
  • Help to make decisions by providing information regarding medical condition and treatment options.
  • Provide opportunities for personal growth.

Treatments and Services Offered by the Palliative Care Program

  • Pain and Symptom Management: A pain and symptom management consultation includes a thorough assessment done by one of our pain experts followed by treatment recommendations that are discussed with your primary oncologist.
  • Social Work Assessment: Our social workers provide emotional support for patients and families through one on one counseling or support groups. They provide assistance with transportation, information on medical insurance, pharmaceutical benefit programs, and legal issues, among others.
  • Nutritional Counseling: A nutritionist will help develop an individualized nutrition plan and provides information on all aspects of nutrition.
  • Psychological Services: Psychological support to patients and families is provided through individual and family sessions, relaxation training, hypnosis, couples therapy and group psychotherapy.
  • Art Therapy: provides emotional support to patients and families using art media, images, and the creative art process.
  • Support Groups for Patients and Caregivers: Led by trained professionals, our support groups offer patients and families emotional support, education, and a chance to meet others with similar issues. A cancer diagnosis and its treatment can be overwhelming. Usually patients and family members have many questions and concerns about the disease and the treatment.