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Pain & Palliative Care Services

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It is care that is focused on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness regardless of diagnosis. Palliative care focuses on physical, psychosocial and spiritual wellness.

Lawrence Memorial Hospital offers Pain and Palliative Care Services. This specialized service aims to improve the quality of life of the patients and families we serve. The Palliative Care team at LMH includes two physicians who are board certified in hospice and palliative medicine, a nurse practitioner, pharmacist, chaplain and social worker.

Working collaboratively with the patient’s other physicians, the Palliative Care team provides an extra layer of support to the patient and family while the patient is hospitalized. Palliative care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment. There is no charge for this service.

For more information, call 785-505-5623.

Caring for body, mind and spirit

Palliative care improves health care quality in three significant ways:

  • Effectively relieves physical and emotional distress
  • Strengthens person-family-physician communications and decision-making
  • Ensures well-coordinated care across health care settings

Palliative care goals

  • Manage pain and other symptoms to attain the best quality of life.
  • Give emotional and spiritual support to patients and family members (family members are those persons who are close to the patient, whether or not legally related).
  • Facilitate decision making that allows the patient's wishes to be heard and respected.
  • Communicate patient's wishes for care to other providers within the hospital and in the community to ensure that they are heard.
  • Advanced care planning by assisting patients and famiies to complete a living will and/or Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care before a crisis occurs. LMH has a booklet about Advance Directives available for download.
  • Provide education and support to direct care staff to ensure the highest quality of care.

How can palliative care help you?

You may want to ask your physician for a palliative care consult if you have a chronic, incurable illness and are having any of the following thoughts:

  • I need additional help managing the symptoms of my illness.
  • I wish that I understood more about my condition.
  • My family doesn't understand my illness.
  • I want to remain as well as possible and as independent as possible.
  • I want to make decisions about my health care before I am too ill and unable to make my own decisions.
  • I need to talk to someone about dying but I am scared and don't know who to turn to.

The Palliative Care team at Lawrence Memorial Hospital can assist you and your family by making sure that you fully understand your illness, treatment options and prognosis. The team can help manage uncomfortable symptoms that you may experience as a result of your illness.

They also can assist with advanced care planning, setting goals of care and planning for needs. They will help coordinate care at the time of discharge and ensure that your primary medical team in the community understands your condition and your goals of care.

Starting the Conversation

  • View a Harvard Medical School video about starting a conversation explaining your preferences for advance directives and end-of-life care.

What does the LMH Palliative Care Consulting Team do?

Physician/Nurse Practitioner

Your attending doctor is involved with your care in most cases. The Palliative Care physician or nurse practitioner will make recommendations for management of complex symptoms; discuss your medical care with other physicians involved in your care including your primary care provider; ensure that the patient and family members understand the diagnosis and prognosis; and educate medical and other staff members about palliative medicine.


Palliative Care nurses will asses the patient and family; develop an initial Palliative Care plan; assist in management of difficult symptoms; advocate for the patient and family members and caregivers regarding goals of care; educate staff members about palliative care; assure that all appropriate disciplines are included on the team; and coordinate process improvement activities.

Social Workers

Social workers on the Palliative Care team help patients and families cope with many issues; assist with resource identification and discharge planning; support advanced care planning including assistance with advance directives; and facilitate patient and family meetings with members of the interdisciplinary team.

Spiritual Care

The chaplain on the Palliative Care team will discuss spiritual concerns with the patient and family; advocate for the patient and family members; educate team members regarding spiritual concerns; and assist with spiritual rituals if requested.

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