Maine Medical Center

Palliative Care

MaineHealth Palliative Care in Scarborough and Biddeford provides palliative care and support to patients and families facing serious illness. Palliative care is appropriate at any age, from pediatric to geriatric, for life-threatening or life-limiting illnesses. Care can be provided during any part of a patient’s illness and alongside disease directed and curative treatment. 

What is palliative care?

Palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is specialized medical care that provides help in managing pain and other symptoms of serious illness. It also provides emotional, psychological and spiritual support to patients and their families as they plan for the future. Palliative care teams work together with primary care physicians and specialists to create individualized care plans. The goal of care is to make the quality of life better for both the patient and the family.

How does pediatric palliative care differ?

Pediatric palliative care is specialized medical care that meets the needs of infants, children and adolescents with serious illnesses as well as their families. Not all pediatric patients that receive palliative care have terminal illnesses, but all suffer from a serious medical condition that affects their quality of life.

Our team is comprised of specially trained professionals including:

  • Physicians
  • Advanced Practice Practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Social Workers
  • Spiritual Care

Specific needs vary depending on a patient’s illness and situation. We work closely with patients and their families to determine the services that will provide the greatest benefit. These services may include:

Palliative care is for everyone with a serious illness that keeps them from living as well as possible. Many patients continue to get healing therapy while receiving palliative care. Palliative care is right at any time during a serious illness.

When an illness has progressed to an advanced stage and life-prolonging interventions are no longer desired, hospice care can provide compassion, care and comfort through the end of life.

Because we focus on helping patients live as well as possible, we may ask questions such as:

  • Do you have any signs of illness that are bothering you right now?
  • What gives meaning to your life?
  • How would you like to spend your time among work, school, family, hobbies and other activities?
  • How can we help you and your family cope with the changes caused by your illness?
  • Do you have a Health Power of Attorney, Living Will or Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST)?

Please ask your doctor for a palliative care referral. We can help whether you are in the hospital, another health care setting or at home. Palliative care is often covered by insurance and government programs. We will coordinate your palliative care with the referring provider.