Residency Program

Palliative Care Rotation

pall careOverview: The Palliative Care Elective provides residents with hands-on experience caring for patients with serious illness

Call: None, weekends and holidays off

Availability: Year round

Palliative Care: Palliative care is an interdisciplinary team approach to improve the quality of life and relieve suffering for patients and families who face serious illness. Our primary goal is to treat the patient as a whole by addressing their physical, emotional, psychological, social, spiritual and cultural needs. This is accomplished by exploring healthcare goals, assisting with medical decision making, developing individualized care plans, providing pain and symptom relief, and offering spiritual, cultural and psychosocial support. The palliative care team works alongside the primary care team to provide these services. Palliative care is appropriate at any stage of illness, from the time of diagnosis through the end of life and bereavement. It can be provided in conjunction with curative and life prolonging treatments.

Learning Opportunities: During this rotation, under the supervision of the palliative care team, interns and residents will be providing inpatient palliative care consultation services to patients and families facing serious illness in the following areas:

  • Complex symptom management (pain, nausea/vomiting, constipation, anxiety, dyspnea etc.)
  • Family and patient understanding of disease status, healthcare preferences, and hopes/concerns
  • Assessment and communication of prognosis
  • Discussions regarding code status, advance directives and advanced care planning
  • Religious/spiritual/cultural preferences and practices around serious illness and death
  • Assessment of decisional making capacity
  • Emotional and psychological support
  • Care of the imminently dying patient, including wishes for care before and at the time of death
  • Discharge planning, including hospice eligibility and hospice referrals
  • Available on requests, individual experiences can be arranged with hospice and our outpatient palliative care practice.

Patients Whom We Serve: Palliative care is available to any patient with serious illness. It includes, but is not limited to, patients with cancer, chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, chronic liver disease, chronic kidney disease, Alzheimer's and dementia. Additionally, due to the unique mission of Harborview Medical Center we work extensively with patients suffering from trauma, acute stroke/debilitating neurologic illness, and HIV/AIDS. We have special expertise with patients from a diverse range of cultural and religious backgrounds, as well as patients from vulnerable populations.


Palliative Care Rotation Contact, Palliative Medicine Attending:
Caroline Hurd, MD, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Director/Attending, Outpatient Palliative Medicine:
Darrell Owens DNP, MSN, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Director/Attending Inpatient Palliative Medicine:
Wayne C McCormick MD MPH, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.