How Does Palliative Care Help Cancer Patients?

Cancer is a serious illness – at any stage – and patients often experience painful symptoms and side effects that can make treatment more difficult to tolerate, both physically and emotionally. Seeking assistance from palliative care professionals can help patients maintain quality of life throughout treatment. But what do palliative care clinicians do, and how … Read more

Tips for Starting Difficult Conversations with Your Care Team

By James Tulsky, MD James Tulsky, MD, is chair of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care at Dana-Farber, with a longstanding research interest in clinician-patient communication and quality of life for patients with serious illnesses. He is also founding director of VitalTalk, a non-profit with a mission to nurture healthier connections between clinicians and patients through … Read more

Oncology and Palliative Care Team Up to Benefit Patients

A cancer care team often involves quite a few players: oncologists, nurses, radiation oncologists, social workers, psychiatrists, and others. While these experts often improve patient outcomes, such a large multidisciplinary team can sometimes make communication and coordination difficult. Dana-Farber’s Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care department is working to change that. Palliative care clinicians are now … Read more

How Can Palliative Care Benefit Pediatric Cancer Patients?

Joanne Wolfe, MD, MPH, founded the Pediatric Advanced Care Team (PACT) in 1997 to help ensure children who are living with life-threatening diseases like cancer, and their families, enjoy the best quality of life.  The program, a part of Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and the Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, and Wolfe, were featured recently in The New Yorker. We spoke with her about the benefits of pain and symptom management, and palliative care for pediatric patients.

Joanne Wolfe, MD
Joanne Wolfe, MD, MPH

Q. What is PACT?

A. PACT is a group of physicians, social workers, and nurse practitioners. We provide an extra layer of support to children with serious illness and their families throughout treatment, ensuring that the child’s quality of life is a top priority for families and medical teams making difficult care decisions.

We make sure we bring attention to the whole patient and family as children are undergoing treatment for their illnesses.

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