Palliative Care

Palliative CarePalliative Care focuses on improving the quality of life for people living with a serious illness and is appropriate at any point during an illness – even while receiving curative and life-prolonging treatment.


How Can Palliative Care Help You?

Palliative care helps you fully understand your illness and options for medical care. Our Palliative Care team treats you as a whole person, which includes the body, mind, and spirit.

Many adults living with serious illness experience physical, emotional, psychological and social stressors. Our team helps to reduce these stressors through expert symptom management and a process called advance care planning.

Advance care planning helps to clarify your goals, values and preferences for care. These discussions can lead to the completion of advance directive documents such as a living will, appointment of a healthcare representative, or both.

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What can you expect from Your Palliative Care Team?

The Palliative Care intra-disciplinary team partners with you to explore the meaning and impact of the illness on your daily life and offers a unique understanding of how we can best support you. The team will...

  • Provide an in-depth conversation regarding your health and plan of care
  • Assist you with making complex medical treatment decisions by reviewing and discussing the risks & benefits of available treatments
  • Work with you and your provider to manage distressing symptoms (i.e. pain, shortness of breath, anxiety, etc.)
  • Collaborate and coordinate with the attending provider and members of your care team
  • Support you and your loved ones emotional, cultural and spiritual needs.
Name Specialties Location
Gorman, Alison Joan, APRN Gorman, Alison Joan, APRN 860.224.5011
  • Hospice & Palliative Medicine
  • New Britain
Granich, Russ, MD Granich, Russ, MD 860.224.5011
  • Hospice & Palliative Medicine
  • New Britain
Kociszewski, Cynthia E., Phd, APRN Kociszewski, Cynthia E., Phd, APRN 203.694.8486
  • Hospice & Palliative Medicine
  • Meriden
Alison Gorman Alison J. Gorman, APRN, FNP-BC

Hospice & Palliative Medicine

Meriden

Valerie Martin Valerie Martin, MSW, LCSW, ACHP-SW (she/her/hers)

Hospice & Palliative Medicine

Meriden

Brenda Vigneault Brenda Vigneault

Hospice & Palliative Medicine

Meriden

Brenda Vigneault Doreen Bottone

Hospice & Palliative Medicine

Spiritual Care

Meriden

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Our Mission

The Palliative Care Program is committed to improving the quality of life of patients and families through a reduction of the physical, psychological, social and spiritual distress resulting from a serious illness or its treatment.

Our Vision

  • Palliative care will be an integral component of healthcare for people in the Central Connecticut area.
  • The program is recognized as a state resource and national leader of excellent palliative care services and education.
  • An interdisciplinary team consisting of doctors, nurses, clergy and social workers will assist patients and families with health care decision making, advance care planning, grief and bereavement care, and by facilitating transitions of care to the home or other institution.
  • The program will provide ongoing education for patients, families, communities, and health care professionals to enhance their understanding of and access to palliative care.

Share in the Vision 

Palliative care focuses on relieving pain and other symptoms of serious illness while focusing on the “whole-person”. Palliative care is appropriate at any point in a serious illness, even while receiving curative and life-prolonging treatment.

If you would like to share in our vision and mission  you can make a donation to the  Palliative Care Program through the hospital's Development Office.

Donate Now

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Palliative Care FAQs

When should I consider Palliative Care?

  • If you suffer from pain or other symptoms due to any serious illness
  • If you are diagnosed with a chronic illness such as diabetes, COPD or Heart failure
  • Need help understanding your illness and coordinating care
  • Are experiencing psychological, emotional or spiritual distress
  • Need information and education about advance directives

Does palliative care replace other types of medical care?

  • No, palliative care does not replace your primary treatment or primary care team. Palliative care interventions compliment your existing medical treatment to ease suffering and stress. Your palliative care team partners with other members of your healthcare team to develop a plan of care that meets your needs.

Is Palliative Care and Hospice the same?

  • Palliative care and hospice care share similar values. Palliative care evolved from the hospice philosophy, and yet is different. Hospice care focuses on individuals with a limited life expectancy who no longer seek treatments to cure their disease.Palliative care can be provided at the time of diagnosis or at any time during the illness, including during treatment.

Is Palliative Care covered by Insurance?

  • Most insurance plans including Medicare and Medicaid cover palliative care.

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Spiritual Care Services

Every faith and tradition can feel welcome. We provide accommodations at all of our facilities to offer you and your loved ones spiritual counseling and support to help guide you through your stay.

Learn more about Spiritual Care Services >>

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Social Work Services

Professional counseling is available to patients and their families to assist with personal issues that may arise from illness or hospitalization. Social workers may also provide referrals to programs and resources outside the hospital.

Our Social Work department can be contacted during a hospital stay or after discharge. Social workers are also available in the Outpatient and Emergency departments.

Contact the Medical Social Worker

Learn more about Social Work Services >>

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Advance Care Planning

Your Palliative Care Team will offer you the option to complete an Advance Directive which includes a Living Will, an Appointment of a Healthcare Representative, or both.

A Living Will is a legal document that states your wishes regarding your healthcare. This document outlines types of care you would want if you were in a terminal condition or permanently unconscious. A Living Will goes into effect only when you are unable to make or communicate decisions about your medical care.

An Appointment of a Healthcare Representative is a legal document appointing a person you authorize to make any and all healthcare decisions on your behalf including the decision to withhold or withdraw life support systems. A Healthcare Representative does not act unless you are unable to make or communicate your decisions about your medical care. The healthcare representative will make decisions on your behalf based on your wishes, as stated in your Living Will or as otherwise known to your healthcare representative.

Your healthcare representative needs to be willing and able to make potentially difficult decisions about your care. Discuss your wishes, fears and what “quality of life” means to you. This helps avoid uncertainty, conflict and stress for your loved ones during a time that is likely to already be difficult for them.

If you are unsure about your healthcare preferences, you can use the tools below to help inform your decisions.

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Health Library/Resources

You can utilize our Health Library to better understand you or your loved ones medical condition.

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Alzheimer’s and Dementia Resources

Dementia Care Partner Resource Guide:
To provide helpful information and support caregivers in their vital work, Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging recently published version three of its Dementia Care Partner Resource Guide.

Download in ENGLISH | Download in SPANISH

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Community Outreach

The Palliative Care team works closely with other central Connecticut agencies to help patients and their loved ones access community resources and to help ease patients' transitions to different care providers.

Center for Healthy Aging

The Center for Healthy Aging is a resource and assessment center designed to make it easier for seniors, their loved ones and caregivers to access essential information and services to attain the optimal quality of life. The Center provides interdisciplinary needs assessments and referral services based on identified needs and objectives of the client.

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After Death Resources

Funeral Homes

Cremation Services

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Practical Matters after death

There are legal and practical matters to deal with, this can be stressful and time consuming and can take up to a year to resolve, recruit a family member to help. You can ask a lawyer, accountant or a financial advisor if there are other measures to take. 

Within a few days of death

  • Make funeral burial or cremation arrangements. Ask relatives and friends to be pallbearers, to eulogize, to plan the service and arrange post-funeral gathering.
  • Secure the deceased’s home and vehicle. Attend to plants and make arrangements for pets, get the mail and throw away food in the refrigerator.
  • Go to the post office and put a forwarding order to send the mail to whoever will be handling affairs.

Legal matters

  • It will be helpful to have multiple official copies of the death certificate, 10 copies are recommended, the funeral home and town clerk’s office will assist you.
  • Notify your loved one’s lawyer of the death-If they did not have a lawyer you may consider hiring one to assist you with after death issues if needed.
  • Locate the Will and any Trusts. Check file cabinets and bank safe-deposit boxes.
  • Contact the probate clerk’s office in your loved one’s town to gather instructions for filing papers pertaining to distribution of assets after death.

Financial Matters

  • Contact your loved ones credit card companies and other creditors
  • Close of change the names on your loved ones bank accounts and safety deposit boxes after all bills are paid.
  • Contact the Social Security Administration (1.800.772.1213) and ask about possible death and survivors’ benefits.
  • Check with your loved ones employer for any owed salary, pension benefits, 401(k) plans, insurance policies or any other benefits. Do the same with previous employers and any professional organizations.
  • Contact the Internal Revenue Service or a tax accountant to find out what tax returns you need to file on your loved ones

Insurance Matters

  • Contact insurance companies; life, health, mortgage, auto, and credit card-file all claims.

Veterans

  • If your loved one served in the Military, contact the Department of Veteran Affairs (1.800.698.2411).

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Bereavement Support

The Palliative Care Program provides individual counseling as well as regularly scheduled group sessions that provide education and support.

  • Group sessions are 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month
  • Please contact Chaplain Doreen at 203.694.8369

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