Palliative Care

What is palliative care?
Palliative care, sometimes called comfort care, is designed to give relief to patients through symptom management and by addressing the spiritual, emotional and psychosocial burdens of disease. The goal is not to cure, but to provide comfort and maintain the highest quality of life.

The focus is on compassionate, specialized care which may be delivered in all care settings including

  • Hospice
  • Nursing home
  • Home care
  • Hospital

What services are available at Vidant Medical Center?Palliative care services are available to patients, families and staff at Vidant Medical Center. The care team includes a physician, a nurse practitioner, a social worker, a chaplain and several trained volunteers. Vidant Medical Center has designated 12 acute care beds to meet the short-term needs of patients and families who are in need of palliative care at the end of life. In addition, Vidant Medical Centerhas a pediatric palliative care unit, designed for the comfort of children with terminal illnesses.

Specially trained volunteers provide visitation and/or respite services for the patients and families referred to palliative care services. With the support of the Service League at Vidant Medical Center, the loved ones of patients who are actively dying receive comfort kits.

Comfort kits provide loved ones of patients who are actively dying with supplies that can aid in their final care. Comfort kits include items such as

  • Journal and pen
  • Hair comb
  • Unscented lotion with directions for hand massage
  • Unflavored lip balm
  • Tear cloth*
  • Tissues
  • Copy of Final Details, AARP

*The Tear ClothA few days and minutes before death, nurses noticed one tear form in the eyes of their patients. The tear is significant in that the patient may not be able to speak and this final tear may be a way of saying goodbye. It is unlike the emotional crying that causes tears to flow from both eyes. The tear may be dabbed onto white squares of linen by family members and kept by families after the patient has died. The family can keep the tear cloth as a burial memorial and has been used by family members at special occasions. It may be worn at christenings, communions, confirmations, weddings or graduations.


Palliative care services are provided by specially trained volunteers. Click here  to find out more information about palliative care volunteers at Vidant Medical Center.