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How to Find Palliative Care

First, ask your primary care doctor for a referral to palliative care. Remember: you don't have to give up your relationship with your regular doctors to receive palliative care services. The palliative care team will work with your other doctors.

In most cases, patients receive palliative care in the hospital. But other health care settings offer palliative care, too, including assisted living facilities, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, and hospices. 

Your doctor may inform you about local palliative care offerings, but if not, you can use the resources below to locate palliative care in your community.

Most insurance plans cover palliative care treatment in full or partially. Typically, Medicare and Medicaid also cover palliative care. If you're concerned about costs, speak to a social worker from the palliative care team. 

Most doctors welcome the services that a palliative care team provides to their patients. However, on rare occasions, a primary care doctor might hesitate to make a referral. If you encounter this problem, ask your doctor for an explanation. You can also ask the palliative care team to help you explain why you would like such services. Then you can speak with your primary care doctor about how palliative care could benefit you. 

Resources to Find Palliative Care

These national resources can help you to locate palliative care programs and providers in your area:

Organizations That Provide More Information on Finding Palliative Care

Center to Advance Palliative Care:

  • The center, based at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, has a mission to increase availability of palliative care services. It operates a web site for patients and families called "getpalliativecare.org." This site provides general information on palliative care and links to news stories. It also offers patients' personal stories and links to resources for them and their caregivers. The resources range from financial and caregiver help to information about specific diseases.

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

  • This nonprofit organization is the nation's largest to represent hospice and palliative care programs and professionals. It engages in advocacy for patients and families, develops educational programs and materials, and conducts research.

The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine

  • This professional organization represents more than 4,000 doctors who specialize in hospice and palliative medicine, as well as other professionals who are interested in the field. The site explains palliative care and offers patient stories, caregiver advice and resources, and information on when to seek hospice.

National Institutes of Health: Clinical Trials on Palliative Care

  • The U.S. lists detailed information on clinical trials of palliative care on this site.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on June 16, 2013
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