When you are facing a life-altering illness, we go beyond medical treatment with supportive palliative care

A serious chronic illness shouldn’t force you to put your life on hold. The supportive palliative care teams at Baylor Scott & White Health can help you maintain good quality of life with programs that provide medical, emotional and spiritual support for you and your family.

Supportive palliative care is a team-based medical specialty focusing on comfort, care and planning for patients facing serious illness and their families. Supportive palliative care team members help determine a care plan that meets your wants and needs, including management of pain and other symptoms, counseling and 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

Supportive palliative care is a relatively new medical specialty concerned with helping those with chronic diseases and their families live with their conditions.

Find out more about how supportive palliative care could help you or a loved one live life Better.

  • Defining supportive palliative care

    People sometimes confuse supportive palliative care with hospice, but it's not the same.

    Learn about the differences and about how supportive palliative care can help improve life and provide comfort to people of all ages with serious, chronic and life-threatening illnesses.

    Read "What is palliative care?"

  • Understanding when supportive palliative care is 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.

    Read "When is palliative care appropriate?"

  • 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.

    Visit the website (English)

    Visite nuestro sitio web (español)

Program and services


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.

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 and spiritual care for patients facing serious illness.

More about spiritual care

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. Studies by several healthcare organizations have shown that supportive palliative care can improve the lives of patients and their families by helping them deal with the physical and emotional stress of a chronic medical condition.

Our supportive palliative teams address the medical, emotional and spiritual aspects of your illness or injury, including:

  • Managing pain, shortness of breath, nausea and other physical symptoms
  • Easing emotional pain, depression and anxiety
  • Addressing spiritual issues
  • Emotionally adjusting to illness
  • Planning for your future

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, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM.

Outpatient care

Outpatient consultations are available at:

Frequently asked questions

  • What is supportive palliative care?

    Supportive palliative care focuses on relieving physical, psychological, social or spiritual problems related to life-limiting 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 simultaneously with medical treatments. Although palliative care may sometimes serve as a bridge to hospice, it is not hospice. If a patient is ready for hospice, the social work department can help contact a hospice agency.

  • Who is eligible for supportive palliative care?

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

  • What services are provided?

    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
  • How do I access supportive palliative care services?

    Talk to your doctor about receiving supportive palliative care services.


Robert Fine, MD

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