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Oncology Palliative Care and Advance Care Planning Program

Offering extra care and support for patients and their loved ones coping with a serious cancer diagnosis

Oncology Palliative Care is a type of healthcare focused on improving your physical, psychological, social and spiritual health while you receive cancer treatment. Palliative care aims to help patients improve their quality of life, improve their ability to tolerate medical treatments, helps them better understand their choices for care, and provides support for their families and caregivers. 

Palliative care can be provided at the same time as medical treatments. Palliative care is different from hospice care, which is care for those with a life-limiting illness and a six-month prognosis or less. You don’t have to give up your existing healthcare provider to have palliative care, and it is appropriate at any point during your cancer journey.

Palliative Care Services

Our Oncology Palliative Care team includes a board-certified adult nurse practitioner, board-certified registered nurse, palliative care social worker, clinical care coordinator and medical assistant all of whom are passionate about caring for patients who are suffering with serious, life-limiting illness. Our team will work with you, your family members and your care team to provide:

  • Relief from symptoms such as pain, nausea, shortness of breath, loss of appetite and fatigue, whether caused by the cancer or the treatments
  • Treatment for depression and anxiety related to the cancer
  • Emotional and spiritual support
  • Enhanced communication with doctors and family members
  • Guidance with difficult treatment decisions
  • Help with navigating the healthcare system

If you’re interested in palliative care, please speak to your medical oncologist and they can refer you for our palliative care services.

Advance Care Planning Services

Advance Care Planning is an integral part of the program with a goal of aligning medical care with the individual patient’s preferences – “that people get the care they need and no less, and the care they want and no more”.  The Palliative Care Team will engage you in a meaningful discussion about healthcare goals and preferences, including end of life goals. Services include:

  • Exploring the patient’s values, goals, beliefs and healthcare preferences
  • Understanding the patient’s current health status and expected course of illness
  • Selecting a qualified healthcare agent to act on the patient’s behalf
  • Documenting the name of the patient’s healthcare agent and preferences in a My Care Advance Directive
  • Completing a POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) if appropriate
  • Sharing decisions with loved ones and healthcare providers
  • Recording the Advance Care Plan in the patient’s electronic health record
  • Community Collaboration

The palliative care team collaborates with primary care providers, specialists, Cottage Health medical professionals and program directors, as well as other community providers who provide supportive care services. They also have strong working relationships with all providers of palliative and hospice care in the community, including Hospice of Santa Barbara, VNA Health and Serenity House, and the Alliance for Living and Dying Well.

Special Thanks

The Palliative Care and Advance Care Planning Program is generously funded through philanthropic support from major donors: J.S. Bower Foundation, William Williams, Natalie Orfalea Foundation and Lou Buglioli, Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree, Benjamin Wayne and Valerie Mizuhara, Warren and Mary Lynn Staley and Hollye and Jeff Jacobs.   

To schedule an appointment with the Palliative Care Department please call 805-879-0675.