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Departments and Services


Palliative care is a medical specialty that helps patients and their families live as fully as possible when faced with a life-threatening illness. Unlike hospice care, which focuses on end-of-life care, palliative services are provided during any phase of an illness, including active treatments such as chemotherapy.

Palliative care is appropriate at any stage of a serious illness and can be provided at the same time as life-prolonging treatment. It addresses physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual needs and facilitates patient autonomy, access to information and choice.

Treatment to relieve pain and other symptoms

The Palliative Care team has an expertise in the management of pain and other troublesome symptoms that may develop during the course of a serious illness. The goal of symptom management is to help the patient remain as comfortable, active and alert as possible. Good symptom control enables the patient to continue with favorite activities and enjoy the company of family and friends. The patient's care plan is individual and focuses on maximum comfort. Palliative care carefully monitors symptoms and uses a combination of medications tailored to the needs of each patient.

Individual and family counseling

The Palliative Care team works to encourage an open dialogue between the patient, family and medical team. Team members are happy to take the time to listen to each patient and family's questions and concerns. The purpose is to get to know the patient as a unique individual and to help the patient identify his or her personal goals and wishes. Palliative Care also works to provide the patient and family with the information and resources needed to get through this challenging time.

Emotional and spiritual support, including attention to end-of-life concerns

Palliative Care focuses on the whole person: mind, body and spirit. How the illness personally affects the lives of the patient and family is important. Everyone copes in different ways. Support is tailored to the needs and preferences of each individual. Supportive counseling is provided to those who find having a quiet time to reflect and to address their concerns helpful.

Palliative Care also focuses on those things that give individuals a sense of meaning and provide a source of strength and comfort. For some, this is connected to a spiritual life which may involve a particular religious tradition or practice. Our goal is to respect and support each person's connection to what is important in their life. The team can help to assure that the patient and family are able to continue their spiritual practices, whatever they may be.

How does palliative care differ from hospice care?

The Palliative Care Service is based in the hospital and can provide care during any phase of the patient's illness, even during active treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation. Team members can help with the transition to hospice care, if needed.

Saint Joseph East
150 N. Eagle Creek Drive, Lexington, KY 40509
Saint Joseph Hospital
1 Saint Joseph Drive, Lexington, KY 40504
Palliative Care