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Supportive & Palliative Care Services

Hundreds of patients are admitted to San Francisco General Hospital & Trauma Center every month with life-threatening conditions, either due to an acute injury or progression of an advanced, chronic illness. These patients, as well as their families and caregivers, often face difficult decisions regarding their care, and sometimes struggle with distressing symptoms like pain, shortness of breath, or anxiety regarding what lies ahead.

San Francisco General Hospital’s Supportive & Palliative Care Service is an interdisciplinary team of providers that helps support patients with advanced or life-limiting illnesses, as well as their families and caregivers. Whether patients are alone or surrounded by family and friends, this Service seeks to ease physical symptoms, but also to provide comprehensive care that addresses the emotional and spiritual distress that sometimes accompanies a life-threatening illness.

Care is provided through a unique team of providers, which includes physicians, nurses, social workers, and chaplains. Meet the team. We also work closely with hospital staff to improve patients’ quality of life, by requesting consultation from pharmacists, nutritionists, respiratory therapists, and occupational and physical therapists. When it is time for patients to leave the hospital, we work closely with community partners and home care agencies to provide a smooth transition either to the patient's home or to an extended care facility.

Anne Kinderman, MD, Director, SFGH Supportive and Palliative Care Service, shares a smile with a patient.

The Supportive & Palliative Care Service provides care in all areas of the hospital, from the emergency room to the medical/surgical units and intensive care units. For patients who may die in the hospital, the Service provides intensive symptom management, opportunities for reflection and meaningful connections with friends and family, and visits from spiritual leaders, if desired. This specialized care is often provided in two converted patient rooms known as “Comfort Care Suites ,” which create a more peaceful, home-like environment, accommodating visitors who wish to stay with their loved ones in the final hours of life.

These services are made possible through the City & County of San Francisco, grant funding from the California HealthCare Foundation and the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation , as well as generous philanthropic support from individual donors. Find out how to support our work by volunteering time or services, Volunteering or through financial support.