What to Expect
At your first palliative care appointment, a professional from our Supportive and Palliative Care team will meet with you to explain what palliative care is and what it has to offer you. We’ll discuss your needs, and together we’ll develop a plan that may include one or more of the elements described below.
Pain & Symptom Control
When you request a referral to Supportive and Palliative Care, you’re asking for help in controlling your pain and other symptoms and challenges associated with your cancer or treatment. Our providers frequently write orders, make referrals, and give suggestions to primary oncologists to help you feel better.
When you need help coping with the stress of having cancer, we are here to provide counseling or refer you to a counselor. We can also teach you strategies to deal with your disease and the side effects of treatment, and we can help find support groups for you.
Talking with Family Members
When it comes to talking with your family members about your disease and what you’d like to have happen in the future, Supportive and Palliative Care professionals are here to help you with those conversations. We can refer you to counselors or the chaplain, and we can also meet with family members in group meetings—in person or on the phone—to ensure everyone understands your illness, what’s important to you during this time, and how you’d like to prepare for the future.
When it’s time for you to create a living will, about your wishes for future health care treatment, we can provide you with forms to create this document, explain what they mean, and guide you through the process of determining your preferences. A living will is also called an advance directive or health care directive.
At your first Supportive and Palliative Care appointment, you’ll receive an individualized care plan that will list the various services available to you with contact information for those services. For future Supportive and Palliative Care appointments, you may request that any of these service representatives be present for your appointment.
You may schedule future appointments at any time. We try to make these appointments as convenient for you as possible, often coordinating them with your appointments with your oncologist or your infusion visits. We will communicate with your oncologist about any changes you wish to make to your treatment.