The SMHC palliative care team provides care and support to individuals who are facing a serious or life-limiting illness such as:
- Advanced cancer
- Lung disease
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Nervous system diseases such as ALS
- Advanced memory loss such as Alzheimer's disease
Treatments are unique to each patient and incorporate the patient's goals, hopes, spiritual beliefs, values and cultural practices. We can provide palliative care during any part of a worsening illness, including while medicine or therapy is being given.
Palliative Care Information and Resources
Palliative care (pronounced PAL ee ha tiv) is patient and family-centered medical care focused on relief of the pain, signs of sickness and stress caused by serious illness. Our team of palliative care specialists will help you cope with and ease the signs of illness, including:
- Fear or worry
- Loss of meaning, control, dignity, relationships
- Breathing problems
- Feeling tired
- Not feeling hungry
- Mouth sores
- Feeling sick to your stomach
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.
We work closely with you to determine which services will provide the greatest benefit, taking into consideration each person's needs and preferences. These can include:
- Advance care planning
- Help with treatment choices, decisions and goals
- Emotional and spiritual support
- Assistance with community resources
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)?
To access palliative care services, please ask your doctor for a 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.
Advance Care Planning
- Advance Directive: Should I Have One?
- Starting a Conversation: Talking to Your Loved Ones About an Advance Directive
- Should I Receive CPR and Life Support?
- Should I Stop Treatment That Prolongs My Life?
- Should I Have Artificial Hydration and Nutrition?
- Maine Health Care Advance Directive Form
- SMHC Advance Directive Wallet Cards
The Conversation ProjectA public campaign addressing how individuals, families and systems address end of life care, offers a "conversation starter kit" and other resources: theconversationproject.org.
POLST MaineIncludes information about the implementation of the Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) program in Maine.
- Center to Advance Palliative Care: getpalliativecare.org
- TED Talk - Lucy Kalanithi: What Makes Life Worth Living in the Face of Death?
- Issues That Matter/Biddeford Public Access: Robert Picone and SMHC's Dr. Rebecca Kowaloff discuss the benefits of Palliative Care
- Values Worksheet
- SMHC Oncology
We provide hospital consultations at:
SMHC Medical Center
1 Medical Center Drive
Biddeford, ME 04005