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Focus Stories

VITAS Healthcare

by Mary Busowski, MD

Featured Photo from VITAS Healthcare

If you are facing the daily challenges of advanced cancer, heart disease, lung disease, or another serious illness, you need supportive healthcare that:

• Manages your symptoms and pain
• Keeps you safely at home and out of the hospital or emergency department
• Helps you identify your preferences for care as your symptoms worsen or your illness progresses

All those things happen in a medical specialty called palliative care, which includes physical, emotional, and spiritual support by specially trained doctors, nurses, and social workers. Palliative care is ideal for patients who need help managing their symptoms and pain, experience ongoing decline, or face serious decisions about what comes next.

In Central Florida, a partnership between Orlando Health and VITAS® Palliative Care supports patients who struggle with the everyday challenges and worries linked to chronic diseases or new diagnoses of cancer, heart disease, and lung disease.
Palliative care doesn’t mean another specialist takes over your care. Just the opposite, in fact! Members of the VITAS team work hand-in-hand with your Orlando Health doctors to make sure you get the best, most-supportive care, whether your illness is stable, evolving slowly, or changing rapidly.

What does palliative care look like with Orlando Health Supportive Care?

Expertly trained physicians and nurses manage symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, anxiety, depression, pain, sleeping problems, and medication side effects.

Trained social workers, nurses, and physicians discuss your goals, preferences, and wishes for care at all stages of your disease.

You’ll feel confident that you’ll get the care you want when you write down your wishes in a living will or other advance directive, or when you name someone you trust to make healthcare decisions for you if you can’t communicate. Your family, caregivers, and doctors will have the information they need to make the best decisions for you in a health crisis.

In today’s healthcare environment, all patients want safe, supportive healthcare that honors their goals, keeps them comfortable at home, improves their quality of life, and provides peace of mind. That’s exactly what you’ll find with Orlando Health Supportive Care and VITAS.

For more information, call the Orlando Health Supportive Care Line at (321) 841-1113 (from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm) or visit

Dr. Mary Busowski is the senior medical director for VITAS® Healthcare in Central Florida. Serving patients and families in Greater Orlando since 1996, VITAS is the nation’s leading provider of hospice and palliative care.

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