Pain and Palliative Care Service

palliative care services at NWHServing communities throughout Greater Boston, the Pain and Palliative Care Service at Newton-Wellesley Hospital supports patients and their families at any stage of a life-limiting illness. The goal is to prevent and relieve suffering and improve the patient’s quality of life.

We focus on intensive communication, pain and symptom control and coordination of care. We also address a patient’s physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual needs and provide them with information to make choices about their care.

Palliative care can be used when a patient is receiving treatment for a disease as well as during the time when there are no longer curative treatment options.

Massachusetts Health Care Proxy/Planning in Advance for your Health Care
(English and Spanish Versions)

Patient Consults
When a consult is requested for a patient in the Hospital, the physician or nurse practitioner conducts a detailed review of the patient’s medical record and speaks with the physicians and other caregivers involved in the current care plan. The team then completes a full patient assessment with an emphasis on symptoms and patient and family knowledge about their illness. Consults can be requested by any member of the patient’s medical team or by the patient or a family member with the attending physician’s approval.

Once the Pain and Palliative Care team has collected the necessary information, they meet with the patient and their family to help make treatment decisions and communicate these decisions with all care providers.

Physical and Emotional Comfort
High-quality palliative care can make the difference between a comfortable existence and one that involves much suffering. Our team helps patients deal with symptoms such as shortness of breath, uncontrolled pain, depression or nausea that are having an impact on their quality of life.

Palliative care also can help a patient’s loved ones begin to deal with the issues of grief and bereavement.

The Pain and Palliative Care team helps patients communicate their wishes to their treatment team and helps physicians understand how the patient is feeling. Both hospice and palliative care focus on helping patients with serious or life-limiting illnesses by addressing issues causing physical or emotional pain or suffering.

The team helps patients think through decisions about treatment and their care plan. Many patients want to know what to expect as their illness progresses and their physical condition changes. We help the care team to determine a patient’s wishes and help those to be carried out as their illness progresses.

Educating the Newton-Wellesley Community
In addition to consultations, the team is actively involved in providing palliative care education to the Newton-Wellesley community, including physicians, nurses, case managers, social workers, house officers and medical students. The team is also working with others at Newton-Wellesley to institute a hospital-wide bereavement program to support families of patients who die at the Hospital.

Team Physicians
Julia Ragland, MD, Director (profile)
Kosha Thakore, MD (profile)

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