From Paula Weisenberger, MD, Medical Oncologist and Hematology at OHC

April 5, 2019

At OHC, we understand that when someone is diagnosed with cancer, their lives are forever changed. It can affect every aspect of their physical and emotional well-being. At OHC, not only are we the region’s leaders at treating cancer, we also provide support services that surround our patients with everything they need throughout their journey. Two programs that complement our clinical expertise are palliative care and hospice care. OHC incorporates these approaches to improve our patients’ quality of life throughout their experience.

We know that cancer often causes symptoms, and any treatment for cancer may cause side effects. An important part of your cancer care, regardless of diagnosis, is preventing or relieving these symptoms and side effects. Doing this helps keep you as comfortable as possible while maintaining the best possible quality of life, from diagnosis through treatment. This is called palliative care.

OHC offers palliative care in addition to your cancer treatment at any step of your journey in order to ease discomfort. In fact, research shows that people who receive both medical and palliative treatment often have less severe symptoms, a better quality of life, and report they are more satisfied with treatment. Other studies have shown that integrating palliative care into a patient’s cancer care plan at the time of a cancer diagnosis can improve their mood and may prolong survival.

Hospice care is offered when a patient’s condition progresses and is not expected to recover. The sole focus is on quality of life: keeping patients comfortable, calm, and with their loved ones, and palliative care is part of this support. Hospice is not a place, it’s a philosophy of care. It helps the entire family have the best possible and most meaningful end-of-life experience. It’s used when treatments are discontinued. Hospice care is provided in the home or a specialized center for hospice care. It can also be offered in a nursing home or hospital setting.

One of the most significant benefits of Hospice care is the assurance that the patient receives of state-of-the-art pain control and symptom management. It allows the patient and family members to express their wishes and become involved in their care options. Studies have shown that hospice care can also dramatically reduce hospitalizations. This occurs when the patient, family, healthcare providers, and Hospice team communicate and create a care plan for the patient.

Improving quality of life and providing gentle comfort is a regular part of the care plans developed for our patients with guidance from OHC doctors who are board certified in palliative and hospice care. By offering these approaches, we are delivering on our promise to surround you and your family with support services to keep you comfortable and provide you with a better quality of life.

If you would like to know more about palliative care, visit our web page . To learn more about Hospice Care, please call OHC at 1-800-710-4674 to talk with a member of our care team or visit

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