Palliative Care

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Palliative care is a specialized program that focuses on making patients comfortable during a chronic and complex illness. It provides an added layer of support for relief of pain, symptoms, and stress for patients and their families.

Care is provided by a team of specialists from Baystate Health who works with a patient’s doctors to develop the best plan of care.

Palliative care is appropriate for patients of all ages and at any stage in a serious illness. Palliative care can be provided while receiving curative or aggressive treatments or therapies.

Palliative care is a non-hospice service. Patients do not have to meet hospice criteria in order to be eligible for services.

Who can benefit from palliative care?

  • Patients of any age, including children, with debilitating chronic diseases or life-threatening illnesses, at any stage of diagnosis.
  • Patients with life-limiting illnesses experiencing unresolved symptoms such as pain or shortness of breath.
  • Patients who have frequent hospital or emergency room visits to manage shortness of breath, swelling, confusion, or other complex symptoms.
  • Patients seeking aggressive treatments, to alleviate the side effects and help them better tolerate ongoing treatments.
  • Chronically ill patients and their families who are not yet ready to accept hospice care.
Referring to Baystate (For Healthcare Professionals)

Patients facing a serious illness often experience pain and other symptoms such as difficulty breathing, nausea, fatigue, constipation, loss of appetite, and difficulty sleeping. Whether a patient is facing a life-limiting illness and isn't ready for hospice, or a patient is fighting a life-limiting illness and still seeking curative treatment, the Palliative Care Program at BVNAH may be able to help provide some relief.

Palliative Care Admission Criteria

Consider palliative care for patients with life-threatening illnesses who:

  • Receive comfort and/or curative treatment
  • Meet homebound requirements of their insurance coverage
  • Require skilled care and treatment, such as:
    • Skilled wound care
    • Intravenous therapy
    • Complex pain or symptom management
    • Complex assessment skills
    • Symptom instability longer than two weeks
    • New medication regimen
    • Numerous medication changes.
  • Require education of family and/or patient regarding disease protocol, skilled treatments, and unmet needs.
  • Would benefit from case management for high-risk patients
    • Coordination of multiple services
  • May be eligible for hospice, but currently pursuing curative treatments or has declined hospice services.


For more information, to make a referral, or for a consultation to see if a patient is appropriate for Palliative Care, call 413-798-6411.


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