About Us

Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship

Welcome from the Program Director

What is Hospice and Palliative Medicine?

Palliative medicine is a form of specialized medical care for patients with serious, life-limiting illnesses (cancer, CHF, COPD, ALS, Alzheimer’s dementia, and others). It focuses on improving a patient’s quality of life by managing distressing symptoms such as pain, dyspnea, anxiety, and others. Palliative medicine also helps to align a patient’s treatment goals with what is most important to them while supporting them during the stress of a life-limiting illness.

Hospice is a specialized form of palliative medicine that is provided in the last six months of life. Hospice can be provided in a patient’s home or in other facilities such as skilled nursing facilities, hospitals, and hospice facilities.

Our History

Recognizing the need and importance of a palliative medicine consult service, the UPMC Altoona Palliative Medicine Consult Service was created in October 2010 and has rapidly grown from 44 consults that first year to around 1,000 consults per year currently.

The UPMC Altoona Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship started in 2013. We are an ACGME accredited program within the core family medicine program. Our fellowship is the sole fellowship at UPMC Altoona. The program offers a variety of clinical rotations with an innovative and comprehensive curriculum. Fellows see a wide array of patients with various diagnoses that prepare them for a career in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Fellows are eligible to obtain board certification in hospice and palliative medicine following the completion of their training program.

Our Mission

The mission of the UPMC Altoona Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship is to provide excellent training for the next generation of hospice and palliative medicine physicians through a variety of educational modalities to prepare them to practice hospice and palliative medicine in any setting. 

Our program aims to

  • Train fellows in broad-spectrum hospice and palliative medicine to prepare them to practice in any setting
  • Alleviate suffering, improve symptom management, and support the best quality of life through the use of interdisciplinary care, education, and research for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families
  • Educate hospice and palliative medicine providers on wellness and the prevention of burnout
  • Alleviate the shortage of well-trained hospice and palliative medicine providers both locally and nationally
  • Use education and outreach to inform the community about hospice and palliative medicine
  • Recruit physicians and staff from diverse backgrounds to serve our community
  • Optimize the utilization and involvement of hospice and palliative medicine providers in skilled nursing facilities