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The Institute of Medicine recommended in a 2014 report that all people with advanced serious illness have access to palliative care specialists. Primary care providers support many core principles promoted by palliative care and are able to address many of the symptoms of their patients. However, when there are complex cases with challenging symptoms to manage, a referral to a palliative care specialist may provide your patients with the additional layer of support needed to improve their quality of life.

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Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs):

Accountable Care Organizations are designed to improve quality while containing the cost of care for a defined population of patients. Palliative care is vital to the success of ACOs because of the high concentration of health care spending among those living with serious illness.

How palliative care can help your ACO patient:

  • Data consistently demonstrates that palliative care improves quality of care for the seriously ill, and in so doing reduced need for emergency services and hospitalization.
  • Palliative care can also enhance family outcomes (improved family satisfaction and quality of life, decreased depression and anxiety, better bereavement adjustment and improved survival among spouses.
  • Palliative care can lower costs through prevention of symptom crises, reducing depression, supporting family caregivers, and matching treatments with patient’s priorities.

Reference: The Role of Palliative Care in Accountable Care Organizations (

Find out how Atlantic Health System's ambulatory palliative care specialty practice can work with you as their primary physician to provide that additional layer of support. Learn more > 


Atlantic Health System’s Community-Based Palliative Care Practices

  • Atlantic Medical Group Palliative Care Program
  • Internal Medicine Faculty Associates Palliative Care
  • Carol G. Simon Palliative Care for Patients with Cancer
  • Medical Diagnostic Associates Palliative Care for Patients with Cancer
  • Advanced Care Oncology and Hematology Palliative Care for Patients with Cancer
  • Chilton Palliative Care Practice
How do I know if palliative care is right for me?2021-10-20T21:19:10-04:00

Palliative care may be right for you if you have a serious illness. Serious illnesses include but are not limited to: cancer, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and many more. Palliative care is appropriate at any stage of a serious illness. You can also have this type of care at the same time as you have other treatments for your condition.

If you’re not sure, take the quiz.

What does the palliative care team do?2021-10-20T21:19:50-04:00

Palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is specialized medical care that focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. It is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with your other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. The goal is to improve your quality of life.

To do this, the palliative care team will:

  • Relieve your symptoms and distress
  • Help you better understand your disease and diagnosis
  • Help clarify your treatment goals and options
  • Understand and support your ability to cope with your illness
  • Assist you with making medical decision
  • Coordinate with your other doctors
What can I expect from palliative care?2021-10-20T21:20:09-04:00

In short, you can expect that your quality of life will be improved. You will have relief from symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping. You can also expect close communication and more control over your care. Palliative care will help you carry on with daily life. It will improve your ability to go through medical treatments. And it will help you to match your goals to your treatment choices.

Will my insurance cover palliative care?2021-10-20T21:20:26-04:00

Most insurance plans cover all or part of palliative care, just as with other hospital and medical services. This is also true of Medicare and Medicaid. If costs concern you, a social worker or financial consultant from the palliative care team can help you with payment options.

Do I have to give up my own doctor?2021-10-20T21:20:47-04:00

No. The palliative care team provides an extra layer of support and works in partnership with your primary doctor.

Can I have curative treatment together with palliative care?2021-10-20T21:21:10-04:00

Yes, absolutely. Your treatment choices are up to you. You can have palliative care at the same time as treatment meant to cure you.

Who else, besides the patient, can benefit?2021-10-20T21:22:17-04:00

Everyone involved! Patients as well as family caregivers are the special focus of palliative care. Your doctors and nurses benefit too, because they know they are meeting your needs by providing care and treatment that reduces your suffering and improves your quality of life.

Where do I get palliative care?2021-10-20T21:22:44-04:00

Palliative care is available in a number of places. More and more, palliative care is available outside of the hospital in the places where you live. You, your doctor and the palliative care team can discuss outpatient palliative care or palliative care at home. Some hospitals also offer outpatient palliative care even if you have not been in the hospital. Check with your doctor. These include hospitals, outpatient clinics and at home.

Who provides palliative care?2021-10-20T21:23:08-04:00

A team of specialists, including palliative care doctors and nurses provide this type of care.

How does palliative care help me choose the best treatment option?2021-10-20T21:23:29-04:00

The palliative care team will also spend time talking and listening to you and your family. They will make sure you completely understand all of your treatment options and choices. By deeply exploring your personal goals, the palliative care team will help you match those goals to the options. They will also make sure that all of your doctors are coordinated and know and understand what you want. This gives you more control over your care.

When should I ask for palliative care?2021-10-20T21:26:05-04:00

You can have it at any age and any stage of an illness, but early in your illness is recommended.

Recent cancer guidelines say that cancer patients should receive palliative care early and together with their other treatments. People who are newly diagnosed with advanced cancer should receive a palliative care consult within eight weeks of their diagnosis. Read the guidelines > 

How do I get palliative care?2021-10-20T21:26:26-04:00

Ask for it! You have to start by talking with your doctor or nurse.

Primary Care

As a primary care provider you already follow many of the core principles of palliative care. Specialized community-based palliative care practices are key to providing that additional layer of support with complex cases and challenging symptom management.

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Specialist Care

While caring for patients who are living with serious illness, many complex physical and psychosocial, symptoms may need to be addressed. Palliative care is there working with you to maximize the quality of life for your patients and their loved ones through the entire trajectory of their illness.

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Advance Care Planning

Asking patients what matters to them through the end of their life starts an important conversation about their values and preferences.

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