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Palliative Care

What is palliative care?

Palliative care is specialized, interdisciplinary care directed toward the relief of symptoms and other stresses in the setting of a serious illness. Palliative care is not a replacement for other types of medical treatment, but rather serves as an extra layer of support for patients and families dealing with significant illnesses and medical events, with the overall goal of easing suffering and improving quality of life.

Who can benefit from palliative care?

Individuals experiencing stressors or symptoms related to a variety of illness and medical conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, liver disease, dementia, HIV/AIDS, stroke, long-term COVID, and neurodegenerative disorders can benefit from palliative care. Palliative care can be provided at any stage of illness and along with any other treatments, including curative therapies.

How does palliative care differ from hospice?

Hospice care refers specifically to a benefit of Medicare or other payer sources, by which designated hospice programs provide interdisciplinary comfort-focused care for patients with advanced illness and an anticipated prognosis of six months or less.

Palliative care can be provided at any point of illness, regardless of the patient’s prognosis, goals of care or other treatments provided. Relief may be provided concurrently with other primary treatments for an illness. The goal of palliative medicine is to maximize the patient’s comfort and improve quality of life.

Insurance and palliative care?

Palliative care is covered by most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid.

Referring physicians?

Hospitalized patients/families can ask their primary Westchester Medical Center treatment team for a referral to the palliative care team.

Palliative Care Services at Westchester Medical Center

The Westchester Medical Center interdisciplinary Palliative Care team is composed of specially trained and credentialed doctors, nurses, social workers and chaplains. We partner with patients’ other healthcare providers to offer a layer of support for patients and their families.

Specialized services provided by the palliative care team include:

  • Expert management of difficult to control symptoms including pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, and loss of appetite

  • Facilitation of communication and coordination of care with other healthcare providers

  • Open discussion about treatment choices and goals of care

  • Emotional and spiritual support for patients and families

  • Assistance in navigating the healthcare system

Outpatient Palliative Care

Palliative care is available to patients of the Westchester Medical Center Gynecologic-Oncology practice by request.
Lugassy, Mara M., MD
Mara Lugassy, MD

Chief, Palliative Medicine Section
Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth)
  • Hospice & Palliative Care
  • General Neurology
Marcotte, Kathy L., FNP
Kathy Marcotte, FNP

Palliative Medicine Nurse Practitioner
Palliative Medicine Section
Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth)
  • Hospice & Palliative Care
Martin, Rebecca A., MD
Rebecca Martin, MD
Attending, Palliative Medicine Section
Clinical Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine, New York Medical College
  • Family Medicine
Rotundo, Erica M., ANP
Erica Rotundo, ANP
Palliative Medicine Lead Nurse Practitioner
Palliative Medicine Section
Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth)
  • Hospice & Palliative Care