Palliative Care Services


​Palliative care is specialized medical care that provides relief from symptoms, pain and stresses of serious or life-limiting illness. The goal is to prevent and ease suffering and to improve quality of life for patients, their families and caregivers, whatever the diagnosis or stage of illness. Our interdisciplinary team of palliative care professionals includes doctors, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, spiritual care providers and others who are trained to provide extra support to patients and families, including those who have decided to end curative treatment. 

All four hospitals of the UW Medicine system—University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC), Northwest Hospital, Valley Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center—have achieved Joint Commission Advanced Certification in Palliative Care. This certification documents the attention to high quality palliative care at UW Medicine. With this accomplishment, UW Medicine became the first healthcare system in the country to have all of its hospitals achieve Joint Commission Advanced Certification in Palliative Care.

How palliative care works

A member of the Palliative Care Services team meets with each patient and family to gain an understanding of what is most important to the patient and family, as well as their concerns, fears and hopes. The palliative care team also meets with other healthcare providers involved in the patient’s care. Together, we develop a comprehensive treatment plan that enhances quality of life by addressing physical symptoms, emotional, social and spiritual needs, and the practical aspects of daily living. 

Palliative Care Services can help patients and their families:

  • Live the best life possible
  • Connect to information and resources they need
  • Manage the feelings and stress that come with serious illness
  • Create stability when many different medical teams are involved with the patient’s care
  • Talk about complex medical issues and make important decisions
  • Match healthcare goals to medical treatments
  • Control pain and other symptoms when needed
  • Make end-of-life care decisions
  • Build memories and legacies for their family through letters, audio and/or videotaped stories
  • Navigate the grief process
For news, academic, and research information, please visit the Cambia ​Palliative Care Center of Excellence website.​​