PATH – a Palliative Approach to Health

Palliative care specializes in relieving the symptoms and stress of serious illness. Symptoms may be physical, emotional, or spiritual. The goal is to improve quality of life for you and your family. Palliative care may be appropriate at any point in an illness, from diagnosis on, and it can be provided at the same time as treatment that is meant to cure you.

Our program is called PATH which stands for Palliative Approach to Health.

A key benefit of palliative care is that it is customized to meet your needs.

Clients and their caregivers, along with the Primary Care Physician, set the goals for care, which focuses on physical, emotional, social, and practical needs.


Commonly Asked Questions

Below are answers to some the most commonly asked questions. We hope they will give you get a better understanding of what palliative care is and how it can benefit your family.

What is PATH?

Palliative care specializes in relieving the symptoms and stress of serious illness and it can be provided at the same time as curative treatment. Our program is called PATH which stands for Palliative Approach to Health.

Symptoms may be physical, emotional, or spiritual. The goal is to improve quality of life for you and your family. Palliative care may be appropriate at any point in an illness, from diagnosis on, and it can be provided at the same time as treatment that is meant to cure you.

The goal of the PATH program is to ease the burden of illness, which can include helping to relieve your physical symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and can also help you to understand your options for care and to clarify your goals and wishes.

Who is PATH for?

Many people may benefit from PATH. With advances in treatment options, people are living longer with advanced illnesses and may need relief of symptoms to improve quality of life for as long as possible. Because care for serious illness often involves multiple physicians, patients may also need education on disease process and care. Our PATH advisor will work with you to establish a plan of care that meets your needs.

PATH may be appropriate for:

  • People who are living with advanced illness who need education on disease process and care. Diagnoses could include cancer, stroke, cardiac disease, Alzheimer’s or any serious illness.
  • Patients receiving treatment (such as radiation, chemotherapy or dialysis) for a serious medical condition.
  • Those who are finding day-to-day life increasingly difficult because of serious illness.

What services does PATH include?

Working in partnership with your primary doctor, the palliative care team can provide:

  • Recommendations for treatment of pain and other symptoms
  • Assisting with communication between you and your family and your medical providers
  • Help in navigating the healthcare system
  • Access to 24/7 support from registered nurses
  • Opportunities for discussions about goals and options
  • Practical information about community resources
  • Emotional and spiritual support for you and your family

Where does the PATH program provide services?

PATH services can be provided at home to those who live in Cortland and Tompkins counties. (Please note: PATH is not available in skilled nursing facilities at this time.)

How much does PATH cost?

Nothing. It’s completely free to residents of Tompkins and Cortland counties.

How do I sign up for PATH?

You can phone or email. Just call 607-272-0212 and ask for the PATH program. Or email the PATH program directly at path@hospicare.org.

If you would like to participate in the PATH program, you can request an assessment directly or ask your doctor to refer you. Either way, the PATH Advisor will do an assessment by phone and then schedule an initial in-person meeting. This meeting will provide you with knowledge, tools and strategy to take charge of your own health. You will have support for those health care decisions through regular follow-up phone calls from a PATH Advisor.


Palliative Care Definition and Testimonial Video