UNC Health Palliative Care

When you’re receiving care for a long-term, chronic illness, the stress on yourself and your loved ones may feel overwhelming. Palliative care with UNC Health provides support to help you manage your symptoms and side effects, communicate with your care team, and improve your quality of life.

Two pairs of hands holding hands, one older and one younger, atop a blue blanket.

These pages highlight additional program-specific options for palliative care within the UNC Health System:

Palliative Care Services

Palliative care providers may offer services for inpatient support (support within a hospital setting) and for outpatient support (support at home or in a clinic). Your palliative care team will get to know you individually to help improve your quality of life. A variety of support services can be personalized for you in your plan of care, such as:

  • Symptom and side effect management
  • Emotional support for you and your family or caregivers
  • Education about your illness and treatment options
  • Help with questions and concerns and communications with your provider(s)
  • Spiritual care

When to Access Palliative Care

Palliative care is typically received in addition to other medical treatments and may help if you are experiencing side effects from those treatments. You may benefit from palliative care when:

  • You are in any stage of long-term (chronic) illness such as cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and kidney disease
  • You or your family members or caregivers feel stressed or overwhelmed
  • Symptoms of your condition or its treatment affect your well-being

How to Access Palliative Care

If you think palliative care may be right for you, ask your provider for more information. They can connect you with a palliative care provider or program. If you are receiving treatment in the hospital, you can talk with your treatment team about accessing palliative care while you are admitted.

You can also search for palliative care providers in Find a Doctor.

Palliative Care Teams

Your palliative care team typically includes several healthcare professionals, such as:
  • Your providers, including doctors and advanced practitioners
  • Nurses familiar with your condition and treatment
  • Medical Social Workers
  • Spiritual Advisors
  • Physical and Occupational Therapists, when required

Costs of Palliative Care

The cost of palliative care varies depending on your needs. Most private insurance plans cover palliative care, as do Medicare and Medicaid. Contact your insurance provider for coverage information.

Palliative Care vs. Hospice Care

Palliative care is an extra layer of clinical and social support throughout a long-term illness, while hospice care services are only offered during the last six months of life. Palliative care can be experienced alone or alongside hospice care.

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Find a Doctor

Ask your provider or care team if Palliative Care may be right for you. You can also find a Palliative Care provider in our directory.

Find a Palliative Care Provider