Palliative Care Program
Palliative care supports people facing serious illness. Our team focuses on your comfort and supports you and your family during this difficult time. Our approach is to
- Help you get more comfortable by actively treating your pain and distress
- Understand 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
- Help coordinate your care
Our Guiding Principle
Our guiding principle is to provide you with the best quality, most compassionate care possible. We welcome your questions and concerns.
Many people are unfamiliar with the term “palliative care,” or confuse it with hospice care. Some common questions about our palliative care program are answered below to help clear up misconceptions and more accurately describe our work:
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.
Why does palliative care work?
Palliative care works because we focus on the causes and treatment of your physical, emotional, social, and spiritual pain. Examples of the different types of pain include:
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 a better quality of life if they get palliative care along with standard medical care from the start of their illness.
Is palliative care available outside of the hospital?
Yes. Palliative care services can also be accessed through Dr. Zesiger’s office. Skilled home care is offered by the Palliative Care Team of the Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice. (Contact either at the information to the right).
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 and at Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice. Dr. Zesiger is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Palliative Care and Hospice. He earned his medical degree from the University of Vermont and completed residency at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass.