Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute

The Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute is a national leader in the effort to improve healthcare for people facing serious illness. Our mission is to deliver the highest quality of care to such patients and their families, and to advance the field of palliative medicine through clinical, educational, and research initiatives.

Palliative Care

Palliative Care provides medical treatment to improve quality of life during a serious illness. Multidisciplinary teams of specialist palliative care physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplain, doulas (volunteer companions), and massage and yoga therapists treat symptoms like pain, make sure that patients and families are fully informed about their treatment choices, and help patients and families receive the care that they want and need inside and outside of the hospital. Palliative Care does not replace a patient’s regular treatment but is added to it at anytime during treatment, but ideally from the time of diagnosis so that patients may be fully healed. 

Palliative care provides:

  • Relief from distressing symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, and difficulty sleeping.
  • Improved ability to carry on with your daily life.
  • Improved ability to tolerate medical treatments.
  • Better understanding of your condition and your choices for medical care. 

Palliative care is not the same as hospice. Palliative care provides medical treatment at all stages of illness and is provided at the same time as curative treatments. 

Doulas as Patient Companions 

In a partnership with the Jewish Board of Family and Children Services, the Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute provides volunteer companions for patients receiving palliative care through the Doula to Accompany and Comfort (DAC) program. Through a recent grant from the Y.C. Ho, Helen and Michael Chiang Foundation, we are expanding services and increasing the number of doulas who partner with medical teams to minimize the isolation often felt by hospitalized patients. It is the only program of its kind that trains and supervises volunteers in hospital palliative care units. Volunteers are called “doulas,” the same word used to describe the well-developed international system of companions for women in childbirth, because the kind of care required during serious illness is very similar to the kind of tender care needed at the beginning of life. Launched at Mount Sinai in 2008, our program is specific to in-hospital care that allows volunteers to see multiple patients while they are hospitalized. Doulas provide support and respite for families and patients through activities such as creating memory books, listening to music, reading, and providing companionship during medical treatments.


To begin palliative care at Mount Sinai, please ask your doctor for a referral. We can help you whether you are in the hospital or at home.

Contact Us

Tel: 212-241-1446
Fax: 212-426-5054
Send e-mail

One Gustave L. Levy Place
Box 1070
New York, New York 10029-6574

Related Resources

Douglas West Endowed Memorial Lecture Series

The Douglas West Memorial Visiting Lecture series was endowed by Susan West in memory of her husband to advance the field of palliative care through public education.

Hertzberg Palliative Care Newsletter (Fall 2011) [PDF]

Doctor and Patient: Lost in Translation (2010) [PDF]

Navigating the Labyrinth of Caregiving (2009) [PDF]