What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is specialized team care for people living with a serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.

Palliative care is available to people at any stage of serious illness and can be provided alongside curative treatment. Central to this care is the communication and coordination of treatment options to maximize quality of life, to care for the patient and family as a unit, and to provide treatment consistent with patient’s values and beliefs. Further information about the palliative care specialty is available here.

Palliative Care at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital

The interdisciplinary palliative team includes physician, nursing, social work and pharmacy disciplines as well as volunteers. For each consultation, we partner closely with other members of the patient care team to provide an integrative and individualized approach to every person’s care plan.

Our service is available to all adult patients admitted to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. A consult is typically initiated by the primary medical team for a patient, but can be suggested by nursing, patients, families, or other staff members. Our services include:

  • Expert pain and symptom management
  • Guidance navigating difficult and complex treatment decisions
  • Advance Care Planning (see below)
  • Emotional and spiritual support for you and your family
  • Assistance coordinating transitions of care
  • Communication about what to expect during serious illness and resources to support patients and families in multiple care settings

Advance Care Planning

The Palliative Care Team is available to help patients and caregivers consider and formalize decisions about the types of treatment they would (or would not) want in specific medical scenarios. Click here for additional information about advance care planning, including a link for the District of Columbia Hospital Association Advance Care Planning document and other resources to support advance care planning discussions.

Information for MedStar Palliative Care Fellowship Applicants

The MedStar Health system is proud to offer an interdisciplinary palliative medicine fellowship, based at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

Partner with us

Have you or your loved one received support from the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital palliative care team? Would you like to share your experience with us? We invite you to share your gratitude by telling us your story. If you wish to share your experience with our team or make a philanthropic gift in support of our services, please click the below button. 




Advanced Care Planning Resources

  • Advance Care Planning Document 
    • The District of Columbia Hospital Association has prepared and distributed an advance directive document for completing durable power of attorney for health care, living will and other wishes. 

Resources to support Advance Care Planning Conversations

Contact the Palliative Care Division

For more information on the Palliative Care division, please call

(202) 444-2611

Inpatient Palliative Medicine Consult

Ask your inpatient primary medical team to consider calling Palliative Medicine.

Palliative Care Specialists

  • Rachel Adams, MD
  • Beth Orrell, NP
  • Yordanka Kirkova, MD
  • Tara Coles, MD
  • Jennifer Ku, PharmD
  • Aaron Wood, DO
  • Michelle Milic, MD
  • Rina Moore, MSW, LGSW
  • Cindy Nguyen, PharmD
  • Jacob Hickson, NP
  • Rev. Dyan McCray