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When facing a serious, life-altering illness, additional support and symptom relief are often needed

A serious illness can make us feel as if our life is on hold. The Supportive Palliative Care teams at Baylor Scott and White Health work with your primary team to provide additional medical emotional, and spiritual support for patient and family alike, helping improve quality of life throughout the serious-illness journey

Supportive Palliative Care is a team based medical specialty focusing on comfort, care, and planning for patients and families facing serious illness. Supportive Palliative Care team members help develop a care plan that meets the patient's wants and needs, including management of pain and other symptoms, counseling, spiritual support and other therapies

You can continue to be treated for your illness while working with the supportive palliative care team. If hospice is needed later, your team can help with the transition.


Learn more about supportive palliative care

What is supportive palliative care?

Palliative care is a new relatively new medical specialty -- and no, it's not the same as hospice. It focuses more broadly on improving life and providing comfort to people of all ages with serious, chronic, and life-threatening illnesses. Palliative care has even been associated with improved survival in some metastatic cancers, perhaps because when patients feel better, they function better, then leading to better outcomes.

When is supportive palliative care appropriate?

Knowing when to talk with your doctor about receiving supportive palliative care can help ease the physical and emotional symptoms of a serious illness.

Facts about supportive palliative care

This fact sheet from Texas Department of Health and Human Services provides a basic overview of supportive palliative care, including financial and insurance information and caregiver resources.

Benefits of supportive palliative care

When you or a loved one is dealing with a serious medical condition, it can be difficult to deal with the stress caused by pain, anxiety and other factors. Supportive palliative care can improve the lives of patients and their families by helping them deal with the physical and emotional stress of a serious medical condition.

In fact, an ever-increasing number of studies have demonstrated multiple benefits to patients and families receiving supportive palliative care services, including:

  • Improved control of pain and other symptoms
  • Better quality of life
  • Less depression and anxiety for patient and family
  • Improved survival for metastatic cancer patients who receive early supportive palliative services
  • Less non-beneficial treatment near the end of life
  • Fewer hospital readmissions and lower costs of care




Programs and services

Our supportive palliative care teams help you manage your illness and your life through a variety of specialized programs and services.

Please note: Not all services are available at all locations.

  • Physicians and APPs
  • Social work services
  • Spiritual Care
  • Child Life Program
  • Individual and family counseling
  • Music therapy
  • Nutrition and speech therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Pain management

Physicians and APPs

Our award winning supportive palliative care teams are under the leadership physicians who are board certified in both palliative medicine and a primary board such as internal medicine, family practice, emergency medicine or one of 14 other primary boards.

Social work services

Social workers on the palliative care team help patients and their family members access resources during the hospital stay and after discharge. They also offer individual counseling, group support, assistance with the transition in places of care, help adjusting to the illness and advocacy for the patient.

Spiritual Care

Supportive palliative care chaplains offer support for patients facing serious illness.

Child Life Program

Child life specialists provide support for children of seriously ill or injured adults. Our child life specialists work with adults to help them understand questions and concerns that children have when an important person in their life is seriously ill. They also help adults understand the behavioral changes and signs of stress in their children.

Individual and family counseling

Our team can help you and your family members in your struggle to make sense out of your experience dealing with illness. Our team members have listening and basic counseling skills and, if necessary, can refer you to internal or external resources with advanced counseling skills.

Music therapy

Music can often offer soothing comfort for patients nearing the end of life. Studies have shown that music can favorably affect the immune system, reduce muscle tension and help relieve pain.

Nutrition and speech therapy

Specially trained dietitians and speech language pathologists can work with palliative care patients to ease swallowing difficulties, provide nutrition evaluations and information about artificial nutrition (feeding tubes) and hydration, as needed.

Occupational therapy

Occupational therapy can benefit patients facing serious illnesses by helping them live as fully as possible. Specially trained occupational therapists use traditional therapies and complementary techniques to help reduce pain and anxiety.

Pain management

Each person who suffers from an advanced illness has different symptoms and levels of pain. Our team works with you to determine your level of suffering—physical, psychological, social or spiritual. We help you, your family members and medical treatment team manage all aspects of your pain so you may live as fully as possible.

Supportive palliative care consultation

Supportive palliative care consultation is available only upon request of your attending physician. If you would like a palliative care consultation at Baylor Scott & White Health, please ask your physician or nurse to contact us.

Inpatient care

Inpatient consultations are available by physician order only, although inpatients or their family members may request an informational visit from a supportive palliative care team member by calling the number listed for your hospital, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Outpatient care

Outpatient consultations are available at the following locations:

Advance directives

Complete advance directives such as a living will or a medical power of attorney

Our director


Robert Fine, MD

Dr. Fine has spent his career studying and developing supportive palliative care programs.

Read more about Dr. Fine

Frequently asked questions

Supportive palliative care focuses on relieving physical, psychological, social or spiritual problems related to serious  illness. Our goals are to:

  • Improve physical, psychosocial and spiritual symptoms associated with advanced illness
  • Help you and your loved ones cope with changes through the stages of illness
  • Determine prognosis and plan for the future

Palliative care services may be provided at the same time you're receiving medical treatment. Palliative care is not hospice. If a patient is ready for hospice, the social work department can help contact a hospice agency.

Any patient with a serious or life-limiting illness is potentially eligible for assistance.

Our services include:

  • Assistance with the management of physical symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, nausea and fatigue
  • Assistance with the management of depression, grief and anxiety
  • Emotional, psychological and spiritual support for you and your
  • Counseling related to prognosis

Talk to your doctor about receiving supportive palliative care services.

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