Palliative Care - Health Services - Eskenazi Health

Palliative care, also known as palliative medicine, is specialized medical care for people living with a serious illness. It is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of the illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative care is based on the needs of the patient, not on the patient’s prognosis. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness.

Palliative care programs provide:

  • Pain and symptom management
  • Detailed communication with patients and families to support their decisions about treatments and care
  • Evaluation of and support for non-medical needs such as emotional, social and spiritual needs

The Eskenazi Health Palliative Care program strives to improve quality of life for both patients and families. Three specially trained team members focus on providing relief from symptoms, pain and stress as patients face the physical and psychological challenges associated with their illness.

Eskenazi Health’s innovative hospital-based palliative care program is provided by a diverse team of caregivers who work with patients' other health care providers to establish care goals, coordinate care, and manage pain and symptoms. Whatever the diagnosis, patients receive services to fulfill their unique needs, with a holistic, comprehensive and compassionate approach to care.

The most commonly treated patients in the Palliative Care program include:

  • People with pain or other unrelieved symptoms related to cancer or cancer-related treatment
  • Individuals with AIDS, ALS, COPD or heart failure
  • Elderly people with advanced dementia or other life-threatening illnesses
  • Patients with nutritional problems caused by a progressive disease
  • Patients and families with psychological or spiritual distress related to a life-threatening disease

People who experience the following symptoms are good candidates for the Palliative Care program:

  • Uncontrolled pain
  • Uncertainty about prognosis
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Weakness
  • Delirium
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Recurrent admissions
  • Concerns about how the disease is affecting them and their loved ones socially, financially and spiritually

Created in 1999, Eskenazi Health’s Palliative Care program has been widely recognized for its innovative programs and outstanding service, receiving such accolades as the National Association of Public Hospitals’ Jim Wright Vulnerable Populations Award, the American Hospital Association’s Circle of Life Award and the Indianapolis Business Journal’s Health Care Heroes Award. To support Palliative Care, please visit

To report a concern about patient safety or quality of care, please contact the Eskenazi Health Office of Patient Experience at 317.880.8333.

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  • Pain Management and Emotional Support

    The Palliative Care team manages pain and other symptoms, promoting communication with the patient, family members and other health care providers while offering spiritual and emotional support as required or requested by the patient and family.

  • Team Advantage

    As a core component of the Palliative Care team, the family continues to care for the patient with support and training from staff while the patient continues to make care decisions. Along with the team consisting of a physician, nurse, social worker and spiritual adviser, a registered nurse case manager serves as the patient’s main contact to ensure top-level continuity of care.

  • Hospice Liaison

    The Palliative Care team works with a variety of hospice organizations to provide hospice care, medical care, comfort and emotional support to seriously ill patients and their families.

  • On-Call Service

    An on-call phone service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to put patients and families in immediate contact with a team member familiar with their case.

  • Inpatient Consultation Service

    Eskenazi Health’s Inpatient Consultation Service provides comprehensive medical assessment and management, focusing not only on controlling pain but also other symptoms to ensure the maximum comfort of hospitalized patients. Also attending to both spiritual and emotional needs, the Palliative Care team can assist with the transition from hospital to home or nursing home.

  • Outpatient Specialist Clinic

    The Outpatient Specialist Clinic at Eskenazi Health Center for Senior Health and Special Medicine offers new outpatient consultations and follow-ups with discharged patients.

  • Family Support

    Team members provide family education to develop and strengthen coping strategies for family members assisting in the treatment and care of their loved one. In addition, for critically ill patients without local families or friends involved and present, Eskenazi Health’s No One Dies Alone (NODA) program provides company and comfort with volunteers who spend time with patients in their final hours.

  • Referral Services

    Palliative Care team members offer referral services to community agencies for practical services and community resources to meet the needs of patients and families.

  • Bereavement Services

    Bereavement services offer support following a patient’s death to help ease the family’s transition and adjustment to living without their loved one.

In addition to Eskenazi Health’s clinical services, the Palliative Care team conducts important educational efforts and community outreach in palliative care. With a home-based educational program for medical students and residents as well as a community initiative that involves churches, faith partners and other community organizations to expand the circle of caring, Eskenazi Health is committed to making patients and their families as comfortable as possible in the face of serious, life-threatening illnesses.

To contact Eskenazi Health Palliative Care, please call 317.880.8251 or complete the form below.

This website is NOT for medical emergencies or medical treatment. For medical treatment, please contact your physician’s office by phone or go to the nearest emergency room. For emergencies, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. If this is a mental health emergency, please call 317.880.8485.

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