Palliative Care supports people facing serious illness. Our team focuses on your comfort and supports you and your family during this trying time.
What is our approach?
• To help you get more comfortable by actively treating your pain and distress.
• Understand what is important to you and help you reach your goals, such as spending meaningful time with your family and regaining your quality of life.
• Communicate clearly with you, your family and your doctors to reduce stress and help coordinate your care.
Is palliative care the same as hospice care?
No. Palliative care treats people with serious illness. It is provided along with active or curative treatment for months to years. Hospice treats people with terminal illnesses who have finished their active treatment.
Our Guiding Principle is to provide you with the best quality, most compassionate care possible. We welcome your questions and concerns.
Why does palliative care work?
Palliative care works because we focus on the causes and treatment of your physical, emotional, social, and spiritual pain.
Some examples are:
Physical: pain, breathing difficulty, nausea or poor appetite
Emotional: anxiety, sadness, fear or grief
Social: isolation or family stress
Spiritual: doubt, hopelessness or a crisis in your faith.
Do I wait until I am very ill to start palliative care?
No. It is very important to get maximum support soon after you are diagnosed with a serious illness. Studies show that people actually live longer and have better quality of life if they get palliative care along with standard medical care from the start of their illness.
Who will help me?
Your Palliative Care team includes a physician, nurse, social worker, and possibly an occupational therapist or physical therapist.
The team leader is Dr. Jeffrey Zesiger, Medical Director of Palliative Care at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. Dr. Zesiger is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Palliative Care and Hospice. Board-certified doctors meet nationally recognized standards for knowledge, experience, and skills in a specific medical speciality. Dr. Zesiger is the Medical Director of Palliative Care at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. His is also medical director of the VNA & Hospice of Cooley Dickinson.
Is palliative care available outside of the hospital?
Yes. Palliative care services are available in two ways:
• Dr. Zesiger has an office at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. For an appointment, call (413) 582-2441.
• Skilled home care is offered by the Palliative Care Team of the VNA & Hospice of Cooley Dickinson. For more information, call (413) 584-1060 or visit www.vnaandhospice.org
ABC is promoting a project started in 2011 by The Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Globe journalist Ellen Goodman, and a bioethicist.
Provides clear, basic palliative care information
Developed to reach out directly to patients and their families who might benefit from the specialized medical care provided by our members.
Helpline: (847) 375-4712
www.caringinfo.org (Caring Connections):
Provides people with information and support when they are planning ahead, caring for a loved one, living with an illness or grieving a loss.
Helpline: (800) 658-8898
Multilingual helpline: (877) 658-8896
www.caringbridge.org: Free, personal, and personalized websites that connect people experiencing a significant health challenge to family and friends.
www.hospicefed.org (Hospice and Palliative Care Federation of Massachusetts)
Represents hospice and palliative care programs and professionals in Massachusetts.
About Dr. Zesiger
Dr. Zesiger is board certified in Internal Medicine and Palliative Care. He earned his medical degree from the University of Vermont in 1983 and completed residency at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass.