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Atlantic General Hospital Offers Palliative Care

Beginning in January 2009, Atlantic General Hospital will begin offering formal palliative care services to patients and their families. Palliative care is the next step beyond curative medicine, providing treatment for symptoms alongside treatments meant to heal or when the underlying disease cannot be cured. The main goals are to relieve pain and other discomfort, and to reduce stress; this type of care takes into consideration an individual’s emotional, social and spiritual needs.

Palliative care also provides information to help a patient live with serious physical illness and can help both patients and their families.

“When you are facing a serious illness you need relief. Relief from pain. Relief from other symptoms, such as fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite and shortness of breath. Relief from stress,” said Chaplain Gail Mansell. “You need to better understand your condition and choices for care. You need to improve your ability to tolerate medical treatments. And, you need to be able to carry on with everyday life. In short, you want to feel better. This is what palliative care can do for you.
“Palliative care is not the same as hospice care. The goal of palliative care is to relieve the pain, symptoms and stress of serious illness – whatever the prognosis. It is appropriate for people of any age and at any point in an illness. It can be delivered along with treatments that are meant to cure you.”

The palliative care team at Atlantic General Hospital, steered by Chaplain Mansell, includes its medical director, Robert Durkin, DO; physician Andrea Baier, MD; and Mary Lou Belcher, RN.

For more information about the Palliative Care Program at Atlantic General Hospital, call 410-629-6886 or email