Palliative Care

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.

Helen Keller

Columbia/NYP’s Adult Palliative Care Service offers patients relief from the pain, symptoms, and stress of a serious illness. Our inpatient and outpatient teams address the concerns of patients and their families struggling with a serious illness, like cancer, heart failure, ALS, and other chronic and debilitating conditions. Our core team of doctors, nurses, social workers, and chaplain are dedicated to individualizing support and assuring that the patients’ treatments are in accord with their values and health care goals. Our team collaborates with the patient’s primary doctor and other specialists to provide an extra layer of support.

What is palliative care?

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It is focused on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness —whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.

Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists who work together with a patient's other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment. (

Our philosophy

We believe that palliative care should be introduced along with curative/disease modifying treatment as early as possible to optimize patients’ quality of life and help them live as well as they can when facing a serious illness, like cancer.

Who might benefit from palliative care?

Our palliative care services are available to patients in an NYPH hospital or clinic, as well as any patients living at home or in assisted living facilities and nursing homes in the New York metropolitan area. Some of the illnesses that benefit from palliative care include:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cancer
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Heart failure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Renal failure
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Stroke

Why consider palliative care services?

  • For relief of pain and other distressing symptoms
  • Improves quality of care
  • Studies suggest improved survival in patients with advanced cancer (e.g. Temel et al NEJM, 2010)
  • Provides support to patients and their families
  • Helps with decision making
  • Helps patients achieve a sense of control
  • Relieves burdens on family