Palliative Care

Palliative care combines the art of caring with the science of medicine.

Palliative care, also known as palliative medicine, is specialized medical care that focuses on relieving the stress and other symptoms of a serious illness, such as cancer, congestive heart failure or Alzheimer’s. It’s about living, and living well.

Living well with a serious illness

Palliative treatment focuses on providing an extra layer of support that lets you live well with a serious illness, staying at home rather than having to go to the ER or the hospital. It increases comfort, improves quality of life and makes living with a serious illness easier, for you and your family. This type of care may be provided on its own, or at the same time as curative treatment.

Some of the issues that palliative care can treat include:

  • Pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping

The Henry Ford difference

At Henry Ford Health, our Palliative Medicine team provides comprehensive care for you and your family. Some highlights of our program include:

  • Multidisciplinary Palliative Medicine team: Our specially trained clinicians focus on improving quality of life, easing physical symptoms, and helping you and your family cope with the challenges of serious illness.
  • Personalized, coordinated care: Our team assesses your care needs, helps you set a goal for palliative care, discusses treatment options, assists with care transitions, and manages care with your other providers—including helping coordinate medical or community referrals.
  • Cancer palliative care: Cancer is one of the most well-known conditions where palliative medicine is provided to help improve quality of life. Palliative care is available at any stage of cancer diagnosis or treatment.
  • Communication and support: Throughout palliative treatment, we communicate with you and your family, and provide emotional, spiritual and educational support.
  • Advance care planning: This type of planning ensures that you can choose the type of care you want, preparing for a time when you may be unable to make your own medical care decisions.

Do you qualify for palliative care?

Palliative treatment may be provided to anyone who is living with a serious illness, but some of the many situations that may indicate it’s a good fit include:

  • A history of multiple hospitalizations, or a hospital admission from a long term care facility
  • Uncontrolled pain or other symptoms
  • Progressive, unexplained weight loss
  • Loss of function and inability to perform basic activities of daily living
  • Uncertainty regarding the prognosis of your illness
  • Having a difficult time coping emotionally with a serious illness

Our Palliative Medicine team serves all patients with serious illness who are hospitalized at any of our Henry Ford locations. We also have some clinic and home-based palliative care programs. Talk to your doctor and your healthcare team to see what ambulatory palliative care options would work best for you.


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