Palliative Medicine: What to Expect

Palliative medicine is a medical subspecialty that focuses on providing care for individuals with life-limiting illnesses. Although any medical professional, including your primary care physician, may provide palliative care by addressing your goals of care and symptoms you experience with a chronic or serious illness, some have a particular focus on this type of care. A palliative care specialist is a health professional who specializes in treating the symptoms, side effects, and emotional problems experienced by patients who have serious health problems. The goal is to maintain the best possible quality of life by taking a holistic approach.

At Cone Health, palliative care specialists work as part of a multidisciplinary team to coordinate patient care. This palliative care team may consist of doctors, nurses, registered dieticians, pharmacists, social workers and may include psychologists or a hospital chaplain as well. Palliative care specialists may make recommendations to primary or specialist physicians about the management of pain or other symptoms and help you understand your medical treatments to make decisions that are right for you.

Palliative medicine goes hand in hand with curative therapies, such as chemotherapy, and can serve as an extra layer of support during your treatment.

People do not give up their primary care physician to receive palliative care. You can request palliative care team assistance during hospitalization, in skilled nursing facilities and to see you at home in some geographic areas. Fortunately, patients in our community have access to exceptional palliative care.  Cone Health has partnered with Triad HealthCare Network’s Hospice of the Piedmont and their Care Connection program to form a palliative care medical team that blends expertise from both organizations.

As of right now, palliative care is given in an inpatient setting within the Cone Health network, with the hope to branch out into area outpatient specialties, clinics and homes.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. Elizabeth Golding is the Medical Director of the Palliative Medicine Team at Cone Health. She completed medical school at Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine and her residency at Cone Health’s Moses Cone Hospital.