Palliative Care Program

Palliative care services are available to all adult inpatients at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital who are faced with a serious or life-threatening illness. The goal of the Palliative Care Program team is to improve the quality of life for patients by preventing and relieving the pain, symptoms and distress caused by serious illness. It is appropriate for both patients receiving curative treatments and for those near the end of life, whatever the diagnosis. Patients with many different diseases and illnesses can benefit from palliative care.

Examples of patients that may benefit include patients with:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Renal disease
  • Cancer
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Or those with a life-threatening injury


The Palliative Care team offers a wide range of services to assist patients and their families:

  • Pain management
  • Relief from symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite
  • Social, psychological and spiritual support
  • Family meetings to assist decision-making and identifying goals of care

Team of Experts

The Palliative Care team includes a board-certified palliative care physician, a board-certified palliative care nurse practitioner, a licensed clinical social worker and a chaplain.

Medical Director - Dr. Elizabeth Poplin

Dr. Poplin is board-certified in palliative medicine and is an oncologist at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey who specializes in gastrointestinal cancer.

Nurse Practitioner - Mary Kelly MA, APN, AOCN, BC-PCM

Mary received her master’s degree as a nurse practitioner from New York University with a specialty in palliative care. In addition, she is board-certified in palliative care management and in advanced oncology nursing.

Social Worker – Miriam Rabin MSW, LCSW

Miriam received her master’s degree from Yeshiva University and is a licensed clinical social worker.

Chaplain - Sharon Hindle, LC, BCC

Sharon completed the clinical pastoral education residency program at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and is licensed as a chaplain by her religious governing body. She is an Associate Clinical Chaplain in the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy and a certified bereavement counselor.

Hours of Service

The palliative care team is available for consults Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Contact Info

For more information, please e-mail

Frequently Asked Questions

Is palliative care the same as hospice care?

No. Hospice care is meant especially for patients close to the end of their lives whereas palliative care is appropriate at any stage of a serious illness.

When is the right time for palliative care?

Palliative care helps through all stages of illness, from the time of diagnosis and throughout curative treatments.

What can I expect from palliative care?

Palliative care can help relieve pain and other distressing symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and loss of appetite. It can help you to tolerate treatments and improve your ability to carry on with your life. Palliative care can also help to give you a better understanding of your illness and the choices that you have.

How can I get palliative care?

Speak to your attending physician to ask for a referral.