To complement its current hospice services, Masonic Village Hospice now offers a Palliative Care program for eligible individuals. Palliative care combines medical, pharmaceutical, dietetic, social work, spiritual and other integrative therapies to provide comfort and quality of life for patients and families when dealing with a life-limiting illness.

While palliative care does not replace active treatments of a disease, it offers beneficial support at any stage of an illness by focusing on symptom management, as well as a patient’s physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being.

“With this program, we focus on pain, symptom management and advanced care planning discussions,” said Maureen E. Dolk-Metcalfe, Hospice director. “If people are not quite ready for Hospice, they may be interested in palliative care.”

Both hospice and palliative care provide symptom relief for patients. Hospice is comfort care without curative intent, meaning a patient no longer has curative options or has chosen not to pursue treatment. Palliative care is comfort care with or without curative intent.

Palliative care is helpful when a patient receives a new diagnosis or experiences a progression of a serious or terminal illness. This could include cancer, lung disease, congestive heart failure, kidney failure, liver disease or neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

The program provides ongoing support for patients and families, allowing them to identify their needs and discover what is most important to them during their journey. The palliative care nurse practitioners can discuss with patients how to manage pain, fatigue, weight loss, depression and anxiety, among other symptoms.

The service is collaborative with a patient’s primary care physician to offer recommendations, identify community resources and provide assistance with making medical decisions in the present and future.

“Palliative care assists people with difficult advanced care planning decisions/discussions, who may be struggling,” Maureen said. “We provide them with different treatment options.”

The palliative care nurse practitioners can also help assess caregiver needs and a patient’s home environment in preparation for continued care and services.
“[This program] really helps our residents with the goal of having them age in place,” Maureen said. “It’s the connection of all the home and community-based services: home health, home care and hospice.”

At Masonic Village Hospice, Maureen will oversee the operations part of the program, while Bethany Sampsell will be the lead nurse practitioner, doing assessments and evaluations.

Ann Colangelo, a resident at Masonic Village at Elizabethtown, has participated in the palliative care program for a few months. At 92, she wants to be free to make her own decisions, and this program enables her to do just that, while still providing her with support.

“I really think it’s a great program, one of the best we have here,” Ann said. “I have support and peace of mind.”

Ann’s final wishes include receiving comfort care, but no “extensive interventions,” such as resuscitation. She also requested not to be taken to a hospital. The palliative care team helped Ann get a DNR from her doctor, and advised her to speak with her four children, so that everyone was on the same page.

“Palliative care has helped me live each day as I want to live it, and I know if anything happens, my final wishes will be followed,” she said.

For more information about Palliative Care services, or to schedule an appointment, call 717-361-8449, or email