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Palliative Care

If you or a loved one is living with a serious illness or a disease with a poor prognosis, our palliative care team will help you maximize life on your terms by minimizing pain and discomfort. You can trust that our team will work in your best interest to manage symptoms, offer emotional support and assist you spiritually.

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Comforting care on the good days + challenging ones

Everyone deserves to live with dignity. When a serious illness alters your quality of life, the palliative care team at Tufts Medicine will be by your side to comfort and support you.

We’re specially trained to help you, your loved ones and other members of your care team make your experience living with a difficult disease as smooth as possible. That means managing your symptoms, coordinating your treatment schedule and, when necessary, planning for end-of-life care.

You're so much more than your illness. We're here to remind you of that every single day.

Anasuya Gunturi MD, PhD and Jennifer Gilliatt, Oncology Nurse Practioner, meet with patient at Lowell General Hospital's Women's Wellness Center.
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Palliative care can help people living with any serious or life-threatening condition find comfort and relief. That may include, but isn’t limited to:

Alzheimer's disease
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
End-stage heart failure
Multiple sclerosis
Neurological diseases
Renal failure
Respiratory diseases

Symptoms that palliative care can manage

Palliative care is designed to provide relief from the more unpleasant symptoms of serious conditions, including:

  • Depression, anxiety or other types of emotional distress
  • Diarrhea and constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath


When we first meet with you in person, we’ll take the time to get to know you by:

  • Reviewing your medical history
  • Conducting a full physical examination 
  • Explaining the importance of planning ahead
  • Identifying your care goals for future treatments
  • Creating a plan together with you and your loved ones to meet those goals


It takes a team to deliver the best palliative care possible. At Tufts Medicine, your care team will include:

  • Clinicians are certified in hospice and palliative care
  • Registered dietitians who will create a custom plan for keeping you nourished 
  • Social workers who understand the physical, emotional and spiritual toll that an advanced illness can take
  • Dedicated staff to provide everyday support 

We work with you and your loved ones to:

  • Assess and manage bothersome symptoms that affect your quality of life
  • Set up specialty services, including end-of-life and hospice care
  • Take the guesswork out of scheduling appointments

Most palliative care services are available in hospitals, long-term care facilities and assisted living facilities. We can even care for you from the comfort of your own home. Palliative care is often covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance providers. We recommend contacting your insurance company to find any possible copays or deductibles.

Hospice care

When life expectancy becomes limited, we also provide hospice care for inpatients (at our facilities) and outpatients (at your home). We’ll ensure your remaining time is filled with compassion, comfort and dignity.

Perinatal palliative care

There's no easy way to say goodbye to your child. Especially when you haven't gotten to say hello to them properly. As you and your family process the loss of a little one, our perinatal palliative care team will be there to care for every part of you: physically, mentally and emotionally. 



Is palliative care the same as hospice care?

No, palliative care is not the same as hospice care. While palliative care and hospice care both focus on caring for people facing serious illnesses, there are some key differences between them.

  • Palliative care supports patients and families managing the symptoms and burdens of an illness, no matter where they are in their treatment journey. 
  • Hospice care provides end-of-life comfort and support for patients living with an advanced illness with 6 or fewer months to live, or for people who have chosen to not pursue further treatment.
How many palliative care visits will I receive?

There's no set number of palliative care visits you’ll receive. Because palliative care is specially tailored to each person, the number of visits depends on your needs based on symptom management and goals. We’ll also coordinate for a health coach to regularly:

  • Oversee your well-being
  • Address any issues
  • Answer any questions or concerns that may arise 
How do I get a palliative care referral?

The first step is to ask your primary care provider for a palliative care consultation. If your primary care provider agrees that palliative care is right for you at this time, they will refer you to our specialists. If you’d like to move forward, we will work with you to schedule a visit, explain the next steps and answer any questions you may have.

Anasuya Gunturi MD, PhD talks with patient at Lowell General Hospital's Women's Wellness Center clinic appointment.
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From regular office visits to inpatient stays, find the healthcare you need and deserve close to home.

Family physician Sarwada Tuladhar Jha, MD talking to patient during exam at a clinic appointment and inputting health information at the computer.
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Meet the doctors and care team devoted to supporting you every step of the way along your path to better health.

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