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Supportive Care

Supportive care is also known as palliative care.  It is patient and family-centered care that helps anticipate, prevent, and treat suffering and pain.  Supportive care starts at the time of diagnosis and involves addressing physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs.  You can receive supportive care at the same time that you're receiving treatment for your illness.  It aims to get patients the information they need to make the best choices for themselves.  Early involvement of supportive care improves quality of life.


The Supportive Care Team

If you have a serious illness, we know that you have many challenges and this can be very stressful for you and your family.  Serious illness can affect every part of your life.  The University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System has a special program to help you.  The Supportive Care Team includes a physician, nurse practitioner chaplain and social worker to provide extra help while facing serious medical ailments.

Ask your doctor if you think you can benefit from a visit by the Supportive Care Team.  You don't have to give up any parts of your medical care and you will remain in control of your treatment decisions.

  • Udai Jayakumar, MD - Medical Director
  • Brandy Watson Wright, MD - Physician
  • Kathy Plakovic, APN - Nurse Practitioner
  • Greg Brenan, MSW, LCSW - Social Worker
  • Hope Engeseth, BCC, Mdiv - Chaplain

Our Services

The Supportive Care Team provides these types of support and more:

  • Hold family meetings to clarify treatment options and prognosis after talking with the many doctors involved in your care.
  • Reduce pain, shortness of breath, anxiety, nausea, and constipation.
  • Help you make decisions about goals of care including feeding tubes, breathing machines, and CPR.
  • Provide support for you and your family  to  cope with changes in daily activities and get the needed support upon going home including homemakers, home health nurses, and hospice (if appropriate and if desired).
  • Assist with emotional and spiritual needs during a prolonged or and stressful illness.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between supportive care and palliative care?

Supportive care is simply another way of saying palliative care.  Supportive care emphasizes the broad scope of the services provided by a palliative care team and is helpful to people with most serious illnesses.  Supportive care is usually provided in the hospital or clinic, but can also be provided in the home setting.

2. Is hospice the same as palliative care?

Hospice is not the same as palliative care, but is another type of supportive care that is paid for by Medicare and many other health insurance companies to help patients with life-limiting illnesses.  It is usually provided at the person's home, but can also be provided at assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and inpatient settings.  Supportive care is available at any time during a person's illness. Hospice care focuses on a person's final months of life. 

3. Who pays for supportive care?

Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance plans typically cover supportive care.

4. Can I keep my regular doctor if I receive supportive care?

Yes, supportive care is an added service (provided by a specialized team) to help primary doctors and patients facing serious illnesses. Your regular doctor will continue to direct your care. The Supportive Care Team and your regular doctor will work as partners to provide you with the best care available.


Our Locations

Supportive Care Team is located at the University of Illinois Hospital, 1740 W. Taylor Street, Chicago, IL 60612


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