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Palliative Medicine

What is Palliative Medicine?

Palliative Medicine

Palliative medicine serves patients and families facing the symptoms and the stresses of serious illnesses.

The palliative medicine team will have conversations with you and your loved ones about your goals and your options. We will work with you to design a care plan that helps you to maximize the quality of your life.

At UHS, palliative medicine is provided by a team of healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurse practitioners, and social workers, as well as pharmacists, nutritionists, and chaplains.

The palliative medicine team can help you to:

  • Understand your options
  • Manage your symptoms, including pain, shortness of breath, and fatigue, as well as anxiety and depression
  • Address your emotional and spiritual needs
  • Develop care plans and advanced directives that respect your choices
  • Support your family and friends
  • Coordinate your care with providers in the hospital and in the community

Who benefits from Palliative Medicine?

Palliative medicine can help patients with serious, chronic, or terminal illnesses, including:

  • Cancer
  • Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Lung disease
  • Other complex diseases

Most insurance plans, including Medicaid and Medicare, cover palliative medicine services.

Meet our team

Phil Dzwonczyk, MD

Philip J. Dzwonczyk, MD is a native of northeastern Pennsylvania and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Scranton. He received his doctor of medicine degree from Jefferson Medical College in Phialdelphia and trained in Internal Medicine and Psychiatry at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, NY.  

He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Dr. Dzwonczyk is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and a fellow of the American Geriatrics Society. He is a member of the clinical faculty at the Clinical Campus of the Upstate Medical University and is on the adjunct faculty at Binghamton University's Decker School of Nursing.  

Earlier in his career, Dr. Dzwonczyk practiced general internal medicine in the Mohawk Valley and served as medical director of Herkimer Hospice.  For over twenty years, he was the Chief of Medical Services at the New York State Veterans Home in Oxford, NY. Currently, Dr. Dzwonczyk is a member of the palliative medicine team at UHS.

Amy Alonzo - Social Worker

Amy Alonzo is a Social Worker who originates from Buffalo, New York. Amy obtained her Bachelor's in Social Work along with minors in Aging Studies and Psychology from The College at Brockport. Amy continued her education at the University at Buffalo where she obtained her Master's in Social Work.

During her time at The University at Buffalo, Amy participated in the Hartford Partnership Program in Aging Education and was the recipient of the Rose Weinstein Scholar Award. Amy has spent her post-graduate career assisting individuals and their families in a long-term care setting.

Amy joined the UHS Palliative Medicine Team in March 2016 and is excited to continue to provide psychosocial support and services with the team in an outpatient setting

When does Palliative Medicine help?

Palliative medicine can benefit patients at any age and at any time during a serious illness. It can be provided with or without treatments meant to restore health. It can include hospice, which is specifically for patients in the last months of life who have decided to decline curative treatments. However, palliative medicine offers a continuum of care. It can support patients throughout all stages of a serious illness.

How can I receive Palliative Medicine?

Your physician may have already referred you to palliative medicine services, but, if they have not, ask them about speaking with the palliative medicine team.

To learn more, please call the palliative medicine team at (607) 763-6982.

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