Skip Navigation
request an appointment my chart notification lp musc-logo-white-01 facebook twitter youtube blog find a provider circle arrow
MUSC mobile menu
Palliative Care Program

Palliative Care Program

Palliative care is special treatment for patients suffering from a serious illness. Palliative care providers work with your doctor to ease symptoms and suffering and to improve quality of life. Palliative care is not hospice care; palliative care differs from hospice care in that palliative care may be offered at all stages of illness.


Scope of Care

  • Pain and symptom management
  • Medical decision help
  • Medical condition education
  • Resources for the health care system
  • Communication between patients, families and medical providers
  • Development of medical care goals
  • Assistance with spiritual needs
  • Social challenges
  • Help with home health care and hospice 
  • Some (but not all) illnesses that utilize palliative care are:
    • Dementia, Parkinson’s disease
    • Heart disease/congestive heart failure
    • Renal disease
    • Lung disease/COPD
    • Neurologic conditions (ALS, MS, CVA)
    • Malignancies 


Inpatient Consult Service

MUSC Hospitals


Hollings Cancer Center
86 Jonathan Lucas Street
Charleston, SC 29425

To schedule an appointment, view the MUSC Health Schedule an Appointment webpage.




Scrambler Therapy

Scrambler Therapy is a non-invasive pain management therapy used to treat various types of neuropathic pain.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy for a palliative care patient includes specialized care for the patient to maintain their occupational activities. This includes activities of daily living, sleep, hobbies and social participation. Occupational therapy allows for patients to continue participating in daily tasks they enjoy.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy for a palliative care patient includes assistance with daily living tasks. This therapy can include mobility, flexibility and strength training to improve quality of life. Physical therapy allows for palliative care patients to maintain some physical independence.


Dietitians help palliative care patients maintain appropriate nutrition and dietary health throughout the course of their treatment.. Dietitians can also offer advice on nutritional options for patients with difficulty maintaining regular diets. 

Social Work

Social workers assist palliative care patients with advance directives, hospice, meals, parking, lodging and emotional support during their time in the palliative care unit.


Chaplains work with palliative care patients to ensure that their spiritual needs are met. This can include baptism or spiritual reconciliation.


Palliative Care offers bereavement or grief support to patients, families, and staff. Steps towards healthy grief, coping and healing include support at the bedside (both spiritual and emotional), legacy work, and follow up by means of mail and telephone. Palliative Care staff is available to provide this support and encourages patients, families, and staff in need to contact us.

Legacy Work

Legacy work is a practice that helps patients and their families feel connected to one another, even when apart. Legacy work also brings comfort to those dealing with chronic illness, long hospitalizations, or at end-of-life.


Pallative Care Volunteers are hospital volunteers who provide visits to Pallative Care patients and families. These volunteers offer a variety of services to help support patients and families during hospitalizations. Available services may include the following upon request:

  • Respite or relief to caregivers who need time for rest, meals, family conference
  • Supportive visits with patients and/or their families
  • Transport outside if medically appropriate
  • Help with Legacy Work or memory making
  • Assistance with hair or nail care
  • Complimentary Therapies: Acupuncture, Energy Therapies, Massage (feet/hands) if medically appropriate

In the News

October 13, 2016
Parents say Special Goodbye to Baby Girl

Steve and Jill Williams snuggle with baby Charlotte on a bed brought in for them by the Palliative Care team.

August 8, 2016

Palliative care team sets national example in Videos

Jeremy Rowan prepares to videotape social workers Kate Rowan, center, and Mary Catherine Dubois while ELNEC's Polly Mazanec, right, discusses their plans. 

December 17, 2015
'Magic in the hallways' at MUSC leads to wedding
Mike Watson didn't want to let his illness keep him from marrying the woman he loves. Neither did MUSC's palliative care team, which specializes in making magical moments happen.

November 12, 2015
Bioethicist uses personal experience to help families in crisis
Dr. David Schenck uses his training in ethics, religion and philosophy to help families make ethical decisions for loved ones.

November 11, 2015
Have you had the conversation?
Palliative care social worker Mary Catherine Dubois helps families deal with complicated medical issues.