November 3, 2021

Raising Awareness: National Hospice and Palliative Care Month

This article was written by Karen Pyott, MSW, LICSW, Regional Director of Social Work and Karyn Spetz, LMSW

November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, a time to raise awareness about the highest quality of care for people coping with serious illness.  Palliative care and hospice programs provide pain management, symptom control, psychosocial and spiritual support to patients and their families.  Palliative care can be introduced at the onset of serious illness and continue concurrently with curative treatments, while hospice care focuses on end-of-life support.

Daughter hugging smiling elderly mother

Seven ways palliative care can help patients with serious illness.

Palliative treatment begins at the diagnosis of a serious illness and continues throughout treatment.  Depending on your individual needs, palliative care teams can:

  1. Help you identify and communicate what matters most to you
  2. Provide treatment for your symptoms to help make you feel better while staying at home
  3. Give you and your caregiver(s) emotional support
  4. Educate you and your family on your illness and medical options
  5. Discuss your care goals and help ensure that your medical care is aligned with them
  6. Help ensure smooth transitions across care settings, if needed
  7. Keep your primary care provider updated with any changes


At Landmark, palliative care services are part of our in-home medical care model. The Landmark care team includes the following:

  • Physicians, nurses and advanced practice providers
  • Social workers, pharmacists and dietitians
  • Behavioral health specialists
  • Nurse care managers
  • Spiritual counselors or chaplains coordinated by Landmark, if requested
  • Others


A patient story highlights Landmark’s unique interdisciplinary approach to care.  

Joe is an 85-year-old man living alone in his own house.  He has four children, three living within an hour of him who try to check in as much as they are able.  Joe’s medical history includes congestive heart failure, chronic kidney disease, diabetes and arthritis, among others.

Joe has shown some decline in recent months. He is more forgetful with taking his medications despite everything being prepared ahead for him.  Joe also finds he is eating less because it is harder for him to prepare meals on his own.  He can address most of his personal care needs but shares it is becoming more difficult, and he believes he would benefit from additional help.  Joe’s children have encouraged him to move to an assisted living facility, but he is determined to remain in his own home.

Joe was identified as someone who would benefit from Landmark services to provide extra support as he navigated important decisions regarding his health care.  His Landmark provider and social worker Karyn Spetz, LMSW were able to meet with Joe and his daughter to talk about his medical concerns as well as the changes he was seeing in his day-to-day life.  This meeting, with Joe, his daughter, Landmark provider and Karyn increased understanding of Joe’s current situation as well as the long-term picture of what is to come.  Through discussion and collaboration between Landmark, Joe and his daughter, a plan was created to help support Joe realize his goal of staying at home. Joe’s quality of life was improved by focusing on what matters most to him.

Joe and his daughter were both very happy with the services and support provided by the Landmark team.

If you are aging alone, or caring for an aging loved one, it’s important to understand what services are available to support your health journey. Palliative care and hospice programs are often not discussed as early as they should be. If you are a Landmark patient, ask your provider for more information about how you can benefit from all of Landmark’s services. If you don’t have in-home medical care, reach out to your primary care provider or health plan to discuss your health care needs.

For more information on palliative and hospice care, visit the National Institute on Aging.