Emory University
Bookmark and Share

Meet Kimberly Curseen

Supportive oncologist helps patients take a big step in their cancer journey.
Story Photo

What is supportive care?

Supportive care, also known as palliative care, provides relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness—whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the patient’s family. Supportive care can help with emotional and spiritual issues as well.

How does supportive care differ from hospice?

While hospice care is typically provided to patients during the end of their lives, supportive care is appropriate at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment. Supportive care teams work closely with individual oncologists to develop personalized symptom management plans that help patients accomplish their treatment goals.

Is there any scientific evidence showing that it makes a difference?

Several recent studies have shown that supportive care improved patient quality of life, lessened their symptoms, and reduced the time they spent in intensive care. One study also showed that certain lung cancer patients who had outpatient supportive care also lived longer than patients without supportive care intervention.

Who provides supportive care and where is it given?

Supportive care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other physicians to provide an extra layer of support. Supportive care teams can provide this in the hospital, through clinics, and in some programs in the home.

Does insurance cover the costs of supportive care services?

As with other hospital and medical services, most insurance plans will cover all or part of supportive care services. Prior authorization may be required. Medicaid and Medicare will also cover the costs.

For more information about the Winship Supportive Care Clinic call 404-778-6448.

Email the editor