Palliative Care

Palliative Care

When faced with a terminal illness, many patients want to make the remaining days of life as comfortable and dignified as possible.

At this point, medical treatment cannot improve the disease, and a special kind of care is needed.

Care that focuses on relieving pain and discomfort.

Care that addresses the feelings and issues that arise when a loved one is dying.

Care that is specially tailored to each patient's and family's needs and beliefs.

Providing Care & Comfort

UVa's palliative care program provides comprehensive care for patients and families at the end of life.

In the final stages of a terminal disease, interventions to reverse the disease process are often of questionable benefit. At this time, treatment may shift to relief of symptoms, or palliative care.

UVa's Palliative Care Unit provides a unique setting for patients and families who wish to forego futile or aggressive medical treatments, and spend their final days together in comfort. A team of professionals works together to meet each patient's and family's unique needs. That patient's personal physician is the head of this team, which may also include nurses; social workers; nurses aides; physical, occupational, speech and respiratory therapists; nutritionists; chaplains and trained volunteers. We work to preserve quality of life and help patients and families prepare physically, mentally and spiritually for death.

Located on 6 East in UVa's Medical Center in Charlottesville, Va., the unit has six private rooms and a home-like setting that help make your experience here relaxing and comfortable. We have no limiting visiting hours so that family members are welcome on the unit at all times.

Services Provided

Symptom management for patients in the final stages of cancer, cardiac, lung or liver disease, cerebral vascular disease, AIDS and other terminal illnesses.

These symptoms include:

  • severe pain
  • intractable nausea and vomiting
  • respiratory distress
  • bowel obstruction
  • anorexia
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • incontinence
  • mental status changes
  • psychological distress
  • Vital signs, assessments and diagnostics tests are performed to further relieve symptoms

Admission Criteria

 Patients requiring care of symptoms in an acute setting. Symptoms may include:


  • severe pain
  • severe nausea and vomiting
  • dyspnea or respiratory distress
  • hemorrhage
  • change in level of consciousness
  • profound weakness
  • dehydration
  • seizure activity


Patients may also be admitted to the unit to provide a transition period prior to discharge with hospice home care.

We recognize dying as part of the normal process of living. Our program affirms life and neither hastens nor postpones death. We're working together to provide compassionate care in the last stage of life.

For information 9am - 5pm Monday through Friday, call (434) 243-9125.

For 24 hour assistance: please call (434) 924-0000 and ask for page #1539.