Our palliative care team is committed to giving you the best quality of life possible — physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually — at any stage of serious illness.
UCLA Health approach to palliative care
At UCLA Health, our palliative care team supports you through any serious, chronic (long-term) condition, whether curable or not. We provide disease management and comfort from the time of diagnosis. We partner with you, your loved ones and your medical team to help you enjoy a better quality of life. You’ll find:
Complete and compassionate care: Our multidisciplinary team includes doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains and psychologists. We make sure you feel supported and receive comprehensive symptom management.
Holistic approach: Holistic care integrates all aspects of your needs. We offer treatment and guidance for your physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being.
Convenient therapies: You can receive our palliative care services while in the hospital, at outpatient care facilities or even in your home. We offer care throughout all stages of your disease and treatment.
What is palliative care?
Palliative care is specialized care focused on relieving the pain, symptoms and stresses of a chronic illness. It can help people with a broad range of illnesses, such as cancer, dementia, heart disease or Parkinson’s disease.
It is different from hospice care, which provides comfort at the end of life after all medical disease treatment has stopped. You can receive palliative care at any stage of illness, from diagnosis through close to end of life. You can also pursue treatment to cure or manage your disease at the same time as palliative care.
Palliative care specialists collaborate with your primary provider to meet your needs and manage your symptoms. Their support may be medical (such as giving pain medications), nonmedical (such as assisting with daily activities) or a combination of both.
Our palliative care services
We offer palliative care services at any point during your illness. We encourage you to start palliative care early in the disease process. Research has shown that people who receive symptom and pain management often live longer and enjoy a better quality of life than those without.
Our palliative care services follow a consultation model. This means a UCLA provider must refer you to our team and agree to comanage your care, whether you need inpatient or outpatient palliative care. Palliative care may be covered by insurance, such as Medicare and Medi-Cal. For more information, please contact your insurance provider.
Our team supports people in the hospital with critical, long-term or life-threatening illnesses. We aim to make your hospital experience as comfortable as possible.
Depending on your needs, we offer many types of medical and nonmedical care. Your primary provider can help you determine if palliative care is right for you.
We also have inpatient palliative care services led by volunteers, such as:
- Music therapy
- Pet therapy, including animal-assisted therapy
- Urban Zen Integrative Therapy, which uses Eastern healing techniques such as yoga, guided relaxation and essential oil therapy
Palliative care at home or outpatient
You may benefit from one of our outpatient palliative care services. Your inpatient team may recommend continued palliative care after you’ve left the hospital. You may also receive a referral from an outpatient provider to receive palliative care. In both cases, the referring provider comanages your care with our team.
We offer palliative care through several specialized clinics and programs, including:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Clinic
- Entertainment Industry Medical Group Palliative Care Clinic (only accepts people in the entertainment industry)
- Family Health Center Palliative Medicine Clinic
- Home Palliative Care Program
- Palliative Care and Supportive Oncology (Pal-Onc Clinic)
- Westwood Palliative Medicine Clinic
Pediatric palliative care
We care for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses through our dedicated Pediatric Pain and Palliative Care services. Providers in our Children’s Comfort Care Program at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital help relieve your child’s pain and symptoms.
We aim to improve function and create the best quality of life possible for your child and family. Your child can access this support in the hospital or at home, at any age from birth through young adulthood.
Palliative care for neurological disease
We offer palliative care at any stage of life for those with serious neurological or neuromuscular disease, such as stroke, dementia or multiple sclerosis. UCLA Health is one of the few institutions in the country to develop a specialized Neuropalliative Care program. We use a holistic approach to care for your medical, emotional and spiritual needs.
We're dedicated to supporting families through challenging times, a commitment that continues even if your loved one passes away. We offer a number of resources to help families and caregivers cope with grief.
Palliative therapies we offer
Palliative care is holistic care, meaning we treat more than just your illness. We consider your physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs.
We may recommend both medical and nonmedical therapies to improve your quality of life. We also help you and your loved ones better understand your needs and goals for the future.
We support you and your family through:
- Managing pain and other symptoms
- Determining treatment and care goals with your primary provider
- Discussing realistic expectations
- Coping with emotional distress
- Clarifying your preferences (the type of resuscitation procedures you’d like to receive if your heart or breathing stopped, or if you have a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order)
- Withdrawing life support
Symptoms we treat
We care for symptoms that arise from your disease or treatment. For example, we may help you manage:
- Anxiety and stress
- Constipation and diarrhea
- Depression, hopelessness and loneliness
- Nausea and vomiting
Meet our team
Our team includes specialized doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers and chaplains who work closely with your primary provider. Our faculty strive to shape the future of palliative medicine and hospice care. We are actively involved in education efforts, research studies and quality improvement projects.