Palliative Care

Having a serious illness can be a lonely and difficult experience. Our Palliative Care staff helps you and your family through this trying time. SAMC offers the only dedicated Palliative Care program in the region. For more information, please call 334-699-8111, ext 2278.

Services Provided:

  • Treatment to relieve pain and other symptoms
    • Palliative treatments focus on enhancing quality of life by managing symptoms (nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, etc.) and controlling pain. PalliativeCare 350x153This can help a patient gain strength and improve toleration of medical treatments.
  • Emotional and spiritual support
    • Serious illness can seem overwhelming at times. The palliative care setting provides an environment that improves support for both the patient and the family through the illness.
  • Excellent communication and coordination of care
    • Information about serious illness and care can be confusing. Your care team also serves as an information resource by helping you and your family understand your treatment options and goals.
  • Assist and support treatment choices and decisions
    • Deciding on future treatments often can be difficult and complex. We can help you and your loved ones discuss concerns about future care while respecting your values and personal preferences.
  • Help in planning for care after the hospital
    • There are several options for care beyond the hospital. Your care team can help you and your family choose the most appropriate arrangement of services, based on symptom and psychosocial needs, personal choices and community resources.


Commonly Asked Questions:

  • Who can receive services?
    • The Palliative Care service will provide care to patients and their loved ones who are experiencing a serious or life threatening illness regardless PalliativeCare 350x153 flowers of diagnosis or stage of disease.
  • Will my regular care team continue to be involved?
    • Yes. The Palliative Care team serves in a consultative role to your regular provider who will continue to be in charge of your care.
  • How can patients receive services?
    • The process begins by a referral from your physician to the Palliative Care team. Patients, family members and other hospital staff can also request a referral from a patient’s doctor.
  • How is Palliative care different from hospice?
    • The Palliative Care service can provide care during any phase of a person’s illness. Hospice care provides services to those patients who are felt to be living in their final six months.


What are the risks of CT myelograms?

Myelograms are very safe procedures done on an outpatient basis with minimal possible risks.
•With any procedure involving a needle there is always a risk for infection, this risk is very low, and sterile technique is used to significantly reduce this risk.
•Allergic reactions to the contrast material are extremely uncommon, but may occur. Allergic reactions may be mild to severe. Mild reactions include: itching, nausea, hives. A more severe reaction would include: nausea, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or swallowing. Reactions to the contrast typically happen immediately after injection.
•There is a low risk for a "spinal headache." This is a headache that will not be relieved using medications. This headache is caused by a leaking of the spinal fluid from the injection site. (Following the bed rest protocol for 24hrs will reduce this risk).
•There is a risk for bleeding. This risk is especially low if you are not on blood thinning agents. Blood thinners are held due to this concern.
•A risk for seizures is also uncommon, but may occur if you are on a contraindicated medication. Certain medications may put you at an increased risk, please let the technologist know about all medications you currently take.

What are the benefits?

Myelograms use high resolution imaging of the spinal column for a detailed study that can assist your physician in evaluating your medical condition, and diagnosing abnormalities of the spine. Myelography may be used in planning for surgical treatment of the spine. These highly detailed images help to demonstrate:
•Compression of nerve roots caused by herniations of intervertebral discs.
•Degenerative Changes in the bone and tissues surrounding the spinal canal.
•Spinal stenosis.
•Tumors involving the spine, nerve roots or spinal cord.
•Infections involving the spine, the discs, or surrounding tissues.
•Spinal lesions caused by disease or trauma.
•Spinal fluid leaks.

Upon discharge you will be given post procedure instructions and a copy of your medication reconciliation form to take home with you. It is important to follow all instructions carefully to prevent any complications such as: headaches, seizures, and pain. Post procedure instructions include:

•24 hours bed rest. You may not return to work or participate in strenuous activities within this time period.
•No driving or operating machinery for 24 hours.
•Continue holding contraindicated medications for 24 hours post procedure
•Stay well hydrated, drink plenty of fluids.

How will I get the test results?

The Radiologist will review all images, and send a report to your ordering physician within 24 hours. Your physician will talk with you about your test results at the time of your followup appointment.

How do I contact someone in Radiology at SAMC about my concerns?

You may contact our radiology department directly at (334)793-5843, to speak to a Radiologic Technologist about your procedure. Please call between 7 a.m.-4 p.m.

If you develop problems after the procedure, call your ordering Physician.

If you have an emergency, call 911 or proceed to the nearest emergency room.