Palliative medicine is a medical subspecialty that focuses on providing care for individuals with life-limiting illnesses.
With a primary goal of enhancing the patient’s and family’s quality of life, palliative medicine takes a holistic approach, including psychosocial and spiritual care, as well as symptom management.
Many people confuse palliative medicine with hospice care, which are two different entities. Hospice care is given when a patient truly faces an end-of-life situation or condition, with a prognosis of six months or less. The concept of palliative medicine is much broader, and encompasses the full trajectory of the disease process.
Early intervention is key with palliative medicine. The sooner the care is initiated, the more benefit the patient and family receives. Patients with a life-limiting illness should be proactive about their care, and ask their providing physician to speak with the palliative care team.
Fortunately, patients in our community have access to exceptional palliative care. Cone Health is partnered with Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro to form a dedicated palliative care team consisting of a specialty physician, nurse practitioners, nurse liaison, social worker and chaplain services, blending expertise from both organizations.
Mary Larach is a nurse practitioner for the palliative medicine team at Cone Health. Mary has been involved with hospice and palliative medicine for five years. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing in 1994 and her Master of Science degree in nursing in 2004, both from University of North Carolina at Greensboro.