Palliative Care Program Offers Compassion, Comfort and Pain Relief

Inpatient (hospital-based) Palliative Care: 732-937-8953
Outpatient Palliative Care: 1-844-CANCER NJ (1-844-226-2376)

Important Resources for This Critical Time

Palliative care at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) is focused on the medical, spiritual and emotional well-being of people facing serious and life-threatening illnesses. We provide comfort and relief during the hardest of times to patients and their families.

Holistic Care for Better Quality of Life

The goal of the Palliative Care Program is to improve patients’ quality of life by preventing and relieving pain, symptoms and distress caused by their illness. We serve patients currently receiving curative treatments as well as those who are nearing the end of their lives.

From pain medication and complementary therapies to psychosocial resources and spiritual guidance, our comprehensive services treat the whole person, not just the disease. We support patients’ families as well, connecting them with support groups and community resources to help them cope with the effects of their loved one’s illness.

The Palliative Care Team

Our compassionate, interdisciplinary team includes board-certified palliative care physicians and nurse practitioners, a licensed social worker, and a chaplain. We have close relationships with most medical specialties in the hospital to provide patients with any extra support they might need during this challenging time, as well as other departments including Pastoral Care, Patient Experience, and Case Management, as well as the David E. Zullo Pediatric Advanced Comprehensive Care Team (PACCT) Program at The Bristol-Myers Squbb Children’s Hospital, and the Rutgers Cancer Institute.

How to Access Palliative Care

To access palliative care at RWJUH, a patient’s physician will need to contact the Palliative Care Program to request services. We will visit the patient and spend some time learning about their values and preferences as well as their personal goals for treatment and care, so we can respond with appropriate resources that can improve their quality of life.

Services We Provide

We offer a range of services including:

  • Pain management – pain medication and complementary therapies
  • Relief from symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, anxiety, depression
  • Social work support and resources
  • Psychological assistance
  • Spiritual support from pastoral care
  • Facilitation of family meetings to assist with decision-making and identifying goals of care
  • Help navigating the health care system
  • Assistance completing advance directives and Practitioner Order for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) forms

Who Can Benefit from Palliative Care?

Patients with many different diseases and illnesses can benefit from palliative care, including those with:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Cancer
  • Congestive heart failure
  • End-stage illnesses
  • Kidney (renal) disease
  • Life-threatening traumatic injury
  • Lung disease including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

We Focus on Your Whole Care Experience

Specialty providers focus on various disease states or specialize in treatments for particular organs; palliative care complements that treatment by focusing on the experience of living with the disease.

We assess how we can alleviate discomfort and pain. We work hand-in-hand with the patient’s medical team to manage their symptoms and provide relief. Here are some examples of how we can support patients and their families:

  • If a patient is experiencing depression or anxiety, we can provide counseling and medication in consultation with your medical team, and bring in an expert for a psychosocial consultation if necessary.
  • If there is a need for spiritual guidance, our pastoral care chaplain will visit. Spiritual leaders from diverse religions visit the hospital regularly, and the chaplain can connect patients to appropriate clergy.
  • If a patient has financial concerns related to their care, or needs support to prepare for life outside the hospital, our team can connect them with valuable community resources.
  • If a patient’s family needs help understanding the patient’s condition or making decisions about treatment options, we can educate and guide them.

We maintain close communication with the patient and family and the health care team with the goal of giving the patient the best possible quality of life.