Palliative care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) provides special medical care for patients with chronic diseases and advanced illnesses. It can be helpful through all stages of illness: making medical treatments more tolerable early on and, at later stages, reducing suffering as you live with a life-threatening illness. Our palliative care team incorporates the unique skills of a doctor, nurse practitioner, social worker, clergy and a case manager. The team helps patients manage pain and symptoms that affect quality of life. They also advise patients and families and open lines of communication as they make difficult decisions about care.
Palliative care differs from hospice care. A patient receiving palliative care can have both aggressive medical treatment and palliative care for symptoms. Hospice care focuses on comfort care instead of treating the illness. Bridge to Hospice, a program of Partners HealthCare at Home, provides immediate home care support with preparation for support from hospice in the future.