Supportive Care for Advanced Illness

Palliative Care

Patients with advanced illnesses that don’t have a cure can face unique challenges, like frequent trips to the hospital or doctors’ offices for the management of pain and other symptoms. Often the care can be overwhelming for family members. Palliative care, sometimes called supportive care, can help ease these challenges. Palliative care is a type of specialized care that focuses on enhancing quality of life for people with chronic or life-threatening illnesses. Emphasis is placed on pain and symptom management, as well as coordination of care, provided by highly qualified and specially trained nurses, physicians, and other professionals. But palliative care goes beyond a person’s physical health care needs and also addresses the emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs.

While some people confuse palliative care with hospice, they are not the same thing. Hospice care begins after a person has stopped all treatment. Palliative care can begin as soon as you are diagnosed and is often provided in conjunction with ongoing treatment. Palliative care can be offered for long periods of time.

For more information on Palliative Care download the brochure located in the side bar to the left.

Palliative Care Services

Penn Highlands Community Nurses staff works with and educates family members who are involved with care — most often in the comfort of your own home. They also consult directly with the patient to determine how they want to be cared for, and honor those wishes. For example, a patient may decide they would rather forgo a medication than experience the drug’s side effects. Palliative care nurses provide pain and symptom management to ensure the highest quality of life. They also coordinate care and communicate with various healthcare providers, as well as connecting the patient and family with other care providers such as therapists, aides, clergy, and social workers.

Who Benefits from Palliative Care?

We serve patients with declining ongoing, life-limiting conditions who have had two or more admissions to the hospital in the past six months. Some of these conditions may include but are not limited to:

  • Cancer
  • Heart failure
  • Lung disease/COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Kidney or liver failure
  • ALS
  • Dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease

Palliative care can benefit those who are confined to a bed, have bed sores or non-healing wounds, are unable to eat or drink enough to sustain weight, have bowel difficulties, or are overly agitated.

Palliative care is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurances upon meeting certain criteria.

If you have any questions about our palliative care services, please call us at 1-800-841-9397.


Supportive Care at Penn Highlands
People who have an advanced illness face unique health challenges. Learn how palliative care nursing can help and how palliative care differs from hospice care.

Penn Highlands Community Nurses

757 Johnsonburg Road
St. Marys, PA 15857
800-841-9397

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