To form your palliative care team, people with special training and certifications will work with you and your current doctor and other providers. Each team member plays a different role, and you may meet with one or several of these specialists:
- Physician specialist: This doctor can be board certified in palliative medicine and will serve as a resource to you and your doctors about the best course of treatment. They’ll help you understand your condition and make sure you’re involved in care plans.
- Advanced practice clinician and/or registered nurse: With special training in palliative care, advanced practice clinicians will work with you and your care team to help with goal setting, family meetings, and advance care planning. They may also have an expanded responsibility to recommend medications and manage your symptoms. During weekends, the on call nursing staff are available by phone – or if needed, in person visits to help you and your family.
- Social worker: A licensed clinical social worker has training in palliative care and is available to help meet the social and psychological needs of patients and families. They coordinate with the care managers and unit social workers to follow up with you when transitioning into the community and can offer bereavement follow up for those who might want additional resources.
- Chaplain: A certified clinical chaplain’s work focuses on spirituality, not religion, and they can help you and your family find meaning in your experience. He or she is trained to offer non-denominational prayer or other spiritual support as a nonphysical aspect of your care.