Skip to main content

Supportive Medicine

​​​​​​​​​​​​​Frequently Asked Questions Are Answered

For more information about how you or a loved one might be helped, call 713-442-2374.
​My doctor referred me (or the loved one I care for) to Supportive Medicine. Is this the doctor’s way of getting rid of me as a patient?

Absolutely not! The Supportive Medicine team provides an extra layer of support and works in partnership with your primary doctor (and your other doctors). Your primary doctor will continue to direct your care and play an active role in your treatment. The Supportive Medicine team provides symptom management, extra time for communication about goals and treatment options and help with navigating the health system.

What is Supportive Medicine?
Supportive Medicine is focused on the unique physical, psychological and spiritual needs of patients living with serious or life threatening illness. Supportive Medicine provides patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, loss of function and stress caused by serious illnesses. Supportive Medicine can provide relief for patients with:

  • Heart disease
  • Dementia
  • Kidney disease
  • Lung disease
  • Neurologic conditions (ALS,MS, stroke)
  • Cancer
  • Any serious illness, regardless if it is curable, chronic or life threatening

The goal of Supportive Medicine is to improve quality of life for patients and their families. Supportive Medicine is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and specialists who work together with a patient's other doctors to help provide comprehensive care. It is appropriate for adult patients at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment.

What types of services does Supportive Medicine provide?
​Pain and symptom control: Our Supportive Medicine team will help identify your sources of pain and discomfort. These may include problems with breathing, fatigue, depression, insomnia, or bowel or bladder. The team will offer treatments that can provide relief such as medication, along with relaxation techniques.
  • Communication and coordination: Our team members strive to be good communicators. We place high importance on communication between you, your family and caregivers, and your personal team of healthcare professionals so all of your needs are understood and met. We’ll help you verbalize your goals of care, facilitate decision-making and assist in the coordination of care.
  • Emotional support: Supportive Medicine focuses on the entire person, never just the illness. The team members caring for you will focus on any social, psychological, emotional or spiritual needs you may have.
  • Family/caregiver support: Caregivers shoulder a great deal of stress, too, so our Supportive Medicine team supports them as well. This focused attention helps ease some of the strain and can help you with decision making.

When should Supportive Medicine be considered?

Advanced or complex diseases come with challenging symptoms that can negatively impact your ability to heal and enjoy life. Supportive Medicine is provided hand in hand with continued care to help with symptom control and with communication regarding options for your plan of care. It focuses on reducing the effect of physical issues on emotional well-being and improving comfort and quality of life for patients and their families.
Supportive Medicine isn’t the same as hospice. Supportive Medicine can be provided at any stage of illness, even if a cure is likely. Conversely, hospice care provides services for patients who are at the end stages of an illness and may have a year or less to live.

Under what circumstances is Supportive Medicine offered?
Your doctor may request a Supportive Medicine consultation for you to help with:

  • Treatments to relieve symptoms: Expert treatment for relief of pain and other symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea, fatigue, anxiety, decreased appetite.
  • Emotional and spiritual support for the patient and family: Living with a serious illness can be scary, isolating and stressful for everyone touched by it. Supportive Medicine promotes communication and support to one another throughout an illness.
  • Guidance on medical information and treatment options: Information regarding illness and treatment options can be overwhelming and confusing. Supportive Medicine can help coordinate health information and care providers in a way that helps patients and their families identify and reach their personal goals for care.

​What does Supportive Medicine do for patients and their families?

For patients, Supportive Medicine helps you carry on with daily life. It improves your ability to go through medical treatments. It helps you better understand your condition and your choices for medical care.
For families and caregivers, we provide a number of suggestions and community resources to help you.

Can I refer myself or loved one to Kelsey-Seybold’s Supportive Medicine or must my doctor make a referral?
​Yes, you can self-refer by calling the Kelsey-Seybold Support Medicine team to schedule a consultation at 713-442-2374.

Is Supportive Medicine covered by insurance?
Most insurance plans cover all or part of the Supportive Medicine treatment you receive, just as with other hospital and medical services. This includes Medicare and Medicaid.

Does Supportive Medicine replace my doctor?
No, we work with our patients’ regular physicians. If they’re ​receiving home health, hospital or nursing home care, we can work closely with those staff members to provide patients with the best care possible in a coordinated manner.

Besides patients, who else benefits from Supportive Medicine?
Everyone involved benefits from Supportive Medicine. Patients and family caregivers are the special focus of Supportive Medicine. Doctors and nurses benefit too because they know they are meeting patient needs by providing care and treatment that reduces suffering and improves quality of life.

How can I get Supportive Medicine?
Ask your doctor to refer you to Supportive Medicine or call Supportive Medicine at 713-442-2374 and ask to schedule a consultation.

Who should I expect to interact with on the Supportive Medicine team?
A team of Supportive Medicine specialists, including doctors and nurses, provide this type of care. Our team will spend time talking and listening to you and your family. We’ll ensure you completely understand all of your treatment options and choices. By delving into your personal goals, we’ll help you match those goals to the options. Our team will also make sure all of your doctors are coordinated and know and understand what you want. This gives you more control over your care.

How doesSupportive Medicine differ from regular care?
Supportive Medicine is specialized medical care for people with serious illness. Think of it as an extension of regular medical care. Supportive Medicine provides an extra layer of support. We focus on the whole person in facets of their daily life and actively work with patients to ensure the care they receive is in accordance with their values and wishes. Our emphasis is on maximizing symptom control, improving quality of life and supporting patients and family. While we don’t discourage medical interventions, one of the important principles of Support Medicine is determining whether or not there is practical benefit to a particular medical intervention and taking a conservative approach to ordering imaging or other testing if it isn’t actively benefiting the patient or changing the treatment plan.

Is this hospice care?
No. Supportive Medicine is for anyone with a serious illness. You can have it at any age and any stage of an illness, and you can have it along with curative treatment, meaning it isn’t dependent on prognosis. Hospice, on the other hand, is an important Medicare benefit that provides Palliative Care for terminally ill patients who may have only months to live. Unlike Supportive Medicine, people who receive hospice are also no longer receiving curative treatment for their underlying disease. Supportive Medicine is a bridge to hospice for many patients, but it’s also true that many patients who are cared for with Supportive Medicine may never need hospice.

​​​​​By Phone

Our Contact Center is here to serve you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

713-442-0427​