Palliative Care

Any person, any age can be on a serious illness journey

Palliative Care can help relieve the pain, symptoms and stress of serious illness

Cartoon illustration of all types of people on a healthcare journey road

Palliative Care is specialized medical care for individuals diagnosed with serious illness- at any age, and any serious illness. Palliative Care can be provided at first diagnosis of a serious illness, at the same time as curative treatments, and at the end of life. Palliative Care improves a person's quality of life by helping to manage pain, symptoms and stress, and offers patients and their families an extra layer of support.

Every care provider can start a palliative care discussion!

Palliative Care Webinar Title Page

"Palliative Care: Aligning the Team Around the Patient"- click here to watch recorded webinar.

Every care provider can be a "first responder" to help patients diagnosed with a serious illness explore palliative care as an added layer of treatment and support. Elizabeth J.Collins, MD, Palliative Care Medical Director, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, provides a framework of the 5 stages of serious illness and how palliative care can be effective at each stage, from first diagnosis, using with curative treatments, and all through a serious illness journey. The webinar provides all care providers with key questions to start a primary palliative care discussion, and learn when to refer for specialty palliative care. The presentation runs 30 minutes, followed by robust Q/A. Bring your staff together for a lively discussion. Note: When starting the webinar, allow 5 seconds for clarity.

Tools: Download the free fact sheet and discussion guides for care providers here.

Flyer/Poster: Bring your staff together to watch and discuss the webinar. Download a flyer here.

NEW: Massachusetts Palliative Care Directory hosted by Hospice & Palliative Care Federation of MA. To find a service, go to and click on" Palliative Care Directory". To list your service, click here, scroll down to the bottom of the page, click on "New Massachusetts Palliative Care Directory", and follow the pages to list your services.

The webinar is sponsored by Massachusetts Medical Society, Honoring Choices MA, American Cancer Society, Hospice & Palliative Care Fed of MA, Lahey Health, and developed in collaboration with the MA Department of Public Health and the MA Comprehensive Cancer Prevention and Control Network (MCCPCN), and the Northea st & Metrowest Palliative Care Coalition. Thank you all!

What is Palliative Care?

Here are commonly asked questions & answers.

Start a Palliative Care Discussion

Start a discussion using these handy discussion guides.

middle aged white woman with gray hair

For Consumers: Patients, Families, Caregivers, Agents & Guardians

"Palliative Care: 5 Things to Talk About With Your Care Providers"

You, your family members and caregivers can start a discussion with your your health care providers about palliative care. Here's a handy discussion guide you can bring to your next care provider visit. The guide is based on a person's right to have adequate information about your illness and treatment options to make informed choices, to direct your care goals and make a care plan, and ensure your care providers know and honor your values and choices. You can ask one question or a few questions — whatever is right for you. The guide can be used at first diagnosis of a serious illness and all through your serious illness journey. Download a free handy guide below in English and Spanish.  Special thanks to Nicole A. Martinez AGPCNP, MSN, Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner, Allcare VNA/ Palliative Care/ Hospice for providing the Spanish translation.

"Palliative Care: 5 Things To Talk About With Your Care Providers"

"Cuidados Paliativos: Cinco Cosas que Hablar con tus Doctors"



For Clinicians & Care Providers

"Palliative Care: 5 Things to Talk About With Your Patients & Clients"

Clinicians, nurses, social workers, care managers and other care providers can start a palliative care discussion with their patients and clients. This is the same discussion guide we offer to consumers with the questions mirrored from the care providers perspective. You can ask one question or several to open up a discussion. Start a discussion at first diagnosis of a serious illness and build on your discussions all through an individual's serious illness journey.  Download a handy guide below in English and Spanish. Special thanks to Nicole A. Martinez AGPCNP, MSN,Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner, Allcare VNA/ Palliative Care/ Hospice for providing the Spanish translation.

"Palliative Care: 5 Things To Talk About With Your Patients & Clients"

"Cuidados Paliativos: Cinco Cosas que Hablar con tus Pacientes y Clientes"

The Fact Sheet & Discussion Guide Work Together

The  downloadable "What is Palliative Care?' fact sheet and  "5 Things To Talk About..." Discussion Guides work hand-in-hand to provide basic information and a list of key questions to start a palliative care discussion. Consumers and Care Providers can print and use at the next visit.

Download the Fact Sheet PDF for Consumers

Download the Fact Sheet PDF for Care Providers

SPOTLIGHT: How Does Palliaitve Care Help?

"Why wouldn't everyone choose Palliative Care? It's a no brainer."

That's what a patient recently said to Peggye Arcouette, LCSW and Liz Cambo, RN,  Notre Dame Health Care, Worcester. Peggye (on right) and Liz report "our patients really welcome hearing about palliative care as a way to manage their everyday symptoms. It can greatly improve their  quality of life."

"First diagnosis of a serious illness can be a great time to introduce Palliative Care."

"I find patients with complex medical needs welcome information about palliative care when first diagnosed," says Elizabeth J. Collins, MD, Medical Director, Palliative Care, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center. "It helps patients and families feel assured that we will walk with them all through their illness and provide needed care."

 "Talking about care can clear up misconceptions about Church teachings"

"The Archdiocese of Boston helps patients and families by educating them about palliative care,  the importance of advance care planning, and Catholic Church teaching about these topics," says Diane McCarthy, MA, BCC, Parish Education Coordinator. Recently after a presentation, a woman with tears in her eyes said, "Thank you so much for what you said tonight.  It brought me a lot of comfort.  I had been struggling with choices that my brother made over the course of his illness and now I realize that what he did is supported by Church teaching.  That means a lot to me." Read more here


"At first a bit hesitant ... then very grateful patients."

"Some of my patients are a bit worried and fearful at first when embracing hospice care", says Ana Sonderson, RN, Care Dimensions, Danvers. "After experiencing the relief from stress and emotional and physical suffering that palliative care offers at this phase of life, I have found patients and families very grateful for the support and care."