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Palliative care now available at Adventist Midwest Health

Media contact: Lisa Parro, senior public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health,

Hinsdale – Many times patients suffering from advanced heart disease, chronic respiratory ailments or progressive dementia need care that not only treats their disease but also manages their symptoms and pain. It’s a concept called palliative care, designed to relieve or soothe the symptoms of a serious disease or disorder to improve a patient’s quality of life.


Adventist St. Thomas Palliative Care is now available to patients at Adventist Hinsdale and Adventist La Grange Memorial hospitals. Palliative care is available at any stage in a serious illness, whether that illness is curable, chronic or life-threatening. It begins with the patient in the hospital and helps them transition from the hospital to other services such as health care at home or an assisted living facility.


The palliative care program is led by medical director Dr. Rajeev Kumar, who is board certified in geriatrics and internal medicine. The palliative care team – which includes physicians, advanced practice nurses, chaplains, social workers and other specialists – coordinates care and discusses treatment options with patients. The team works directly with the patient’s primary care physician.


“As people are living longer – even patients with advanced life-threatening illnesses – there will be an even greater need for pain relief and palliative care in the hospital setting,” Kumar said. “Offering this service means that our patients can remain in the community to receive the care they need.”


Palliative care is different from hospice care in that it may be provided at any time during a person’s illness – even from the time of diagnosis – and may be given at the same time as curative treatment. Hospice is focused on terminally ill patients who no longer seek treatments to be cured. Palliative care addresses symptoms such as breathing difficulties, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, problems sleeping and chronic pain.


The program was made possible by the generous bequest of the late Lynn J. Coleman, who supported Adventist St. Thomas Hospice and its bereavement programs for more than 10 years. When the Westmont resident and retired Downers Grove South High School physical education teacher passed away in 2009 at age 66, her legacy of giving continued; a generous bequest of more than $500,000 in her name will ensure the continuation of the bereavement programs she so charitably supported in her lifetime.


Adventist Hinsdale and Adventist La Grange Memorial hospitals are among a growing number of hospitals incorporating palliative care programs into their services. Between 2000 and 2008, the number of palliative care programs in U.S. hospitals with 50 or more beds increased more than 125 percent. More than 1,400 U.S. hospitals offer palliative care, according to an analysis released earlier this year by the Center to Advance Palliative Care.


“Palliative care fits perfectly with our commitment to whole-person care – treating each patient’s mind, body and spirit by relieving physical pain and emotional distress,” said Pamela Mezyk, RN, CHPN, executive director of Adventist St. Thomas Palliative Care and Adventist St. Thomas Hospice. “We’re here to help patients and their families make difficult end-of-life decisions.”


Adventist St. Thomas Palliative Care, 119 E. Ogden Ave., Hinsdale, is a department of Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and is certified by Medicare and accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. It serves patients and families in DuPage, eastern Kane, northern Will and western Cook counties. For more information, call (630) 856-6900.



Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital.  To find a physician, visit