Palliative and Hospice Care
If you or a loved one are facing a serious illness, Mount Sinai Brooklyn’s palliative and hospice care specialists can provide an added layer of support for you and your family. Our goal is to prevent or relieve the symptoms and stresses of your disease and treatment. Many of our patients have advanced heart failure, advanced pulmonary disease, advanced cancer, and other serious, complex conditions. You can receive palliative care services alongside treatment. We are here to help.
Our specialists coordinate their care with your entire team, including your doctors, hospital social workers, chaplains, nurses, physical therapists, and pharmacists. We believe family is important in thinking through end-of-life choices and involve them in decision making. We partner with Metropolitan Jewish Health System, one of the largest and most respected not-for-profit programs in the greater New York region, in providing palliative and hospice care.
Our palliative care specialists work with your other doctors as a team to help you get the services you need. We can help with a variety of issues, including:
- Symptom control
- Clarification of care goals
- Psychological support
- Spiritual counseling
- Support for family, friends, and caregivers
- In-depth discussion about your condition and treatment options
- Connection with local social services
- Accessing hospice services in the hospital or after discharge
People have different hopes for the end of life. Some want to receive every possible treatment for even a few additional days or weeks. Others are more concerned about quality of life, focusing on pain relief and maintaining dignity. We can help you and your family think through your needs and preferences. Studies show that most people are particularly concerned about:
- Managing pain and symptoms
- Preparing for death
- Achieving a sense of completion
- Clarifying treatment preferences
- Making sure their families have support
It may be reassuring knowing that you will receive the type of health care you want, even if you eventually become unable to communicate clearly. Palliative care services can help make certain that your preferences are known by helping you complete the paperwork you may need:
- Living Will: Outlines the type of care that you would want if the end of life is approaching—what care you prefer and what should not be done.
- Durable Power of Attorney: Names a health care agent, a person or persons who would make health care decisions for you if you are not able to do so. This document can also outline what treatments you want or don’t want. Your health care agent can make decisions not outlined in writing.
- Do-Not-Resuscitate Order: If you are approaching the end of life and cardiopulmonary resuscitation is very unlikely to help you, you can request a “Do Not Resuscitate” order. This says that health care providers should not perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation if your heart or breathing stops.
Transitioning Out of the Hospital
Mount Sinai Brooklyn’s palliative care specialists can help as you or a loved one transitions out of the hospital. You may go home, to a short-term rehab facility, or to a long-stay nursing home. Whenever you go, we can help you arrange for:
- Hospital bed and other supplies
- Home health aides
- Connections with community resources
- Access to hospice for extra care at home or in a nursing home
You can choose a palliative care program, which will be available 24/7 after you leave the hospital. We can help you determine your needs and set this up.
If you have an advanced illness or a rapid decline in health, you may decide—together with your family and doctor—that end-of-life care is appropriate. Mount Sinai Brooklyn’s Hospice Program focuses on comfort and quality of life to make sure you are as symptom-free and pain-free as possible. We start by listening to you. A registered nurse will sit with you and your family to discuss your medical needs and preferences, and to make sure you receive services that are culturally and religiously appropriate. We are a Level 5 partner in the We Honor Veterans program and have special training in LGBTQ concerns.
Our team, available 24/7, includes specially trained doctors; registered nurses; social workers; chaplains; nutritionists; and speech, physical, occupational, and music and art therapists. We coordinate with your primary care doctor as well as any specialists you may be seeing. Whenever possible, we try to arrange for you to work with a physician who speaks your mother tongue. Services are available in person or by phone to your home, hospital room, nursing home space, or wherever else you may need care and attention. We also provide up to nine months of bereavement support.
Most if not all of our palliative and hospice services are covered by insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid.