Department of Medicine

University of Pittsburgh

home image
"The goal of palliative care is to maximize quality of life for patients living with a serious or life-threatening illness. A patient can benefit from palliative care at any stage of chronic illness, from the time the disease is diagnosed to its final stages. It takes an entire team, including a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, psychologist, social worker, and chaplain, to provide palliative care. One important aspect of care is controlling the patient's bothersome physical symptoms, such as pain, shortness of breath, nausea, and fatigue. Careful use of medications often achieves this goal. Another aspect is helping the patient and his or her family plan for the future and establish goals for medical care."
Linda King, MD, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine


In June 2003, the schools of the health sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, in collaboration with Family Hospice and Palliative Care, established the Institute to Enhance Palliative Care. The institute invited scholars and health professionals from diverse fields to join together to improve care for people who are seriously ill and dying in western Pennsylvania. The unique collaboration of an academic research institution and a community-based hospice and palliative care provider now makes it possible to gain greater understanding of the range of experiences of people who are facing serious illness.


The mission of the institute is to improve the access to and quality of palliative care in western Pennsylvania by (1) educating health care providers regarding palliative care, (2) conducting research into the most effective ways to provide palliative care, (3) raising public awareness about the availability of palliative care, and (4) advancing public policies that support excellent, high-quality care for people who are seriously ill.

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation and WQED are proud to announce the premiere of: "The Last Chapter" -June 30, 2011 - 7:30 p.m. - WQED-TV

Everyone has a story. We can all look back on our lives and break them down into "chapters." The same holds true for patients with a life limiting illness who are living out or thinking about their last chapter. This one hour documentary will take you inside the hospital, hospice, homes and lives of palliative and hospice care recipients and providers. Explore medical, ethical, practical and spiritual issues from a variety of perspectives and discover how patients and families are taking an active role in their own end-of-life planning.