Palliative Care Services

Mission statement

The OHSU Palliative Care Service's mission is to discover, teach, and practice the best palliative care possible. We have been and aim to continue to be a nationally recognized leader in palliative care, employing a team-based approach to serve patients, families and health professionals who are dealing with serious, life-threatening illnesses.

What services does the OHSU Palliative Medicine and Comfort Care Team provide?

We can provide enhanced communication between you, your family and your medical team, help in making difficult medical decisions at any stage of illness, give you emotional and spiritual support, and provide expert treatment of stress-related symptoms, such as:

  • Pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of appetite

We welcome questions from patients and their family members. Ask your doctor for a referral for palliative care services. Our team is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Who benefits from palliative care?

Patients and families who:
  • Have a recent diagnosis of a serious illness
  • Need care which is focuses on providing relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness
  • Need help understanding their condition
  • Need assistance making complex medical decisions
  • Will have complex needs when they leave the hospital
  • Have a long, complex hospital stay
  • Have a complex illness with many hospital stays

How does palliative care differ from hospice care?

Palliative Care and Hospice Care are not the same thing.  Palliative care is for anyone with a life-threatening or serious illness.  Palliative care is appropriate at any stage of an illness, and can be provided together with curative treatment.  Our goal is to improve the quality of life for both the patient and family.

Hospice is a resource and Medicare benefit that provides care specifically for those who are terminally ill and to help them focus on comfort and quality of life in the remaining days, weeks, or months of life.  Our Palliative Care Service in the hospital can help with the transition to hospice care, if needed.

What is comfort care?

Comfort care strives to ensure comfort for patients and families in the last days to hours of life.

Palliative Medicine and Comfort Care Team

Sue BestSue Best, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.
Palliative Care Social Worker

Jessica L. Bordley, M.D. Jessica L. Bordley, M.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine

Tiffany Culbertson - OHSU Palliative Care Tiffany Culbertson, R.N., M.S.N., A.N.P.-B.C.
Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialist
MyersJeff_13aJeff Myers, P.A.-C.
Palliative Care Physician Assistant
Instructor, School of Medicine
Mary Denise Smith, R.N., C.N.S.Mary Denise Smith, R.N., C.N.S., A.C.H.P.C.N.
Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialist
Instructor, School of Nursing and Medicine
Eric WalshEric Walsh, M.D.
Palliative Care Physician
Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Hematology and Medical Oncology
Terri SchmidtTerri Schmidt, M.D., M.S.
Palliative Care Physician
Professor of Emergency Medicine
Susan YoderSusan Yoder, R.N., B.S.N.
Program Administrator
Director, Department of Patient Relations


Palliative Care Team Chi Lee, M.Div., BCC
OHSU Hospital / OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital

Deb Mecartae, M. Div., BCC
OHSU Hospital / OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital

Fernando Serna, M. Div., BCC
OHSU Hospital / OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital

Steven Straus, M. Div., BCC
OHSU Hospital / OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital