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Smilow Palliative Care Program

The Palliative Care Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital focuses on symptom management and quality of life concerns for adult patients with serious chronic progressive or terminal illnesses. We center our care on patients and families, and help them deal together with their loved ones’ physical issues such as pain, fatigue, and nausea, as well as with psycho-social issues like depression, disruption of family life, and financial concerns.

Each patient consultation includes a comprehensive review of medical records and medical history, a physical examination, and a discussion of the symptoms, goals, values, social interests, and spiritual needs of the patient and his or her family. Ongoing evaluation and follow-up care are then provided as needed. 

Our Approach

Palliative care uses many approaches, depending on the individual patient’s symptoms, needs, and wishes. It might involve the following:

  • Medications
  • Pain management
  • Complementary techniques, including breathing exercises, massage or Reiki, acupuncture, art or music therapy
  • Mental health services and coping strategies
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Spiritual support and guidance
  • Nutritional support
  • Family support
  • Discharge planning

Our Team

The palliative care team includes expert physicians and advanced practice providers who partner with social workers, chaplains, pharmacists, care coordinators, and other clinical staff members to offer an additional dimension of expertise. Our staff is experienced in helping patients and families manage distress in the face of serious illness, as well as at life’s end.

It’s important to note that unlike hospice care, which is meant specifically for those approaching the last stages of life—usually the final six months—palliative care can complement ongoing treatment at any stage of illness. Palliative care does not mean that active treatment to cure a disorder or prolong life will end. All care will continue through any stage or time in each patient’s illness.

Our Services

Bereavement Service

Yale New Haven Hospital Bereavement Services provides care and support to families and friends to help you learn how to live life without your loved one.

Grief is a natural response to loss, but the way we grieve is unique to each person. Our experienced staff of clinical social workers can help with learning and understanding more about grief which will help with healing.


  • Telephone outreach
  • Monthly bereavement seminars
  • Bereavement support groups
  • Information and referral for bereavement resources
  • Hope for the Holidays (support for coping during the holiday season)
  • Annual Memorial Service (a formal service to remember your loved one, conducted in collaboration with Spiritual Care and Patient Relations)

For more information, contact:
Andrea Lucibello, LCSW
Coordinator of Bereavement Services

Outpatient Palliative Care

The Outpatient Palliative Care Clinic at Smilow Cancer Hospital uses an interdisciplinary team approach to provide an extra layer of support for both patients and their families.

These services include: 


  • Help with decision making
  • Determining goals of care
  • Pain and symptom management

Social Work

  • Supportive resources for life changes
  • Meaning-centered individual and group programs
  • Bereavement and grief support groups


  • Resilience building
  • Emotional coping skills
  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Creative expression

Art Therapy


  • Values and spiritual resources
  • Existential concerns
  • Advance directives

Referrals to:

  • Home care
  • Community services
  • Integrative medicine
  • Smilow Pain Clinic
  • Addiction medicine
  • Hospice

Read information on the Art Therapy Program.

Palliative Care Program Members