Palliative Care Program

What Is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is a medical specialty that helps people living with serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief of symptoms and improving quality of life for both the patient and their family. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness.

Our palliative care team is made up of specially-trained doctors, advanced practice nurses, social workers, chaplains and volunteers who work together with primary medical teams treating serious illnesses. Palliative care can be used along with curative treatments and also at end of life.

Quality of life in the setting of serious illness

Having a serious medical problem can affect many areas of your life, including your emotional well-being and daily functioning. You don’t have to navigate these challenges alone. Palliative services are available to anyone with a life-limiting condition, including:

  • Cancer
  • Complex injuries, including brain injuries
  • Heart disease, including congestive heart failure (CHF)
  • Kidney disease
  • Lung problems, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Memory problems including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease
  • Neurologic problems, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS

How can Palliative care help?

Symptoms and stress relief
Whether you’ll benefit from pain management techniques or new ideas to solve problems related to your care, our team is dedicated to helping make your life better. Palliative care focuses on relieving pain and symptoms such as nausea, shortness of breath, constipation, loss of appetite, depression, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and fatigue. Patients and families also receive support and guidance to help manage stress and coordinate available resources.

Match goals with quality of life
Our palliative care team will spend time helping you and your family understand your treatment options and how they match up with your quality-of-life goals. Our providers help communicate your goals to your other medical providers ensuring your wishes are understood and giving you more control over your care.

Palliative care providers work together with you, your family and your other doctors to help as you manage life a serious illness. In addition to expert symptom management, our palliative care team is there to support you every step of the way.

Contact Us

To request more information about our palliative care program, please call 843-792-6062.

Interested in Volunteering with Palliative Care?

Some of our support services are made possible due to the generosity of volunteers. If you are interested in helping, we welcome you to contact volunteer services at MUSC Health or reach out to our program specialist, Jessica Bullington for more information.

Palliative care volunteer roles include:

  • Supportive visits
    Volunteers make visits to patients and families that would appreciate social visits for comfort and support.

  • Legacy Work
    Volunteers assist with crafting project that help promote coping and connection during long hospitalization or at end of life. This role ranges from doing legacy work at the bedside to assisting with preparing art materials or helping with program donations. Learn more about Legacy Work.

  • Complementary Therapies
    Licensed and certified volunteers may provide the following modalities to patients to promote comfort – Reiki, massage, acupuncture. This program has extra training and is offered under the supervision and direction of the program specialist and clinical team.

  • Compassionate Companions
    Volunteers are called in to sit with patients who are dying alone (or to provide respite for the family). The role of compassionate companion is similar to that of a friend or caring companion during the end of life. This program requires special training. These volunteers often have other roles with the team but are also on this list to meet this need when it arises.

  • Bereavement
    Volunteers participate in bereavement support provided to families of patients who passed away during their hospitalization. Some volunteers make phone calls to families throughout the year following a loss, this requires special training. Volunteers also assist with yearly Services of Remembrance to honor patients who have passed in the previous year.