Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Inpatient unit

The Thomas Palliative Care Unit at VCU Massey Cancer Center provides a unique, home-like atmosphere for inpatient care on the fourth floor of North Hospital on the MCV campus. This location provides easy access to all appropriate therapies and interventions throughout the health system. Inside this homey environment, all of the nurses are certified in palliative care and are experts in pain and symptom management.

The 11-bed unit offers a liberal visitation policy. Children of all ages, as well as pets that meet unit guidelines, are allowed to visit patients. The unit has a family room with a TV and a play area for children. Just beyond the comfortable living room is a fully-equipped kitchen where baking is done every day. Hallways are carpeted to reduce noise. Some rooms have ceiling fans and all have private bathrooms with a shower.

Patients admitted to the unit receive the full spectrum of palliative care:

  • Pain and symptom management
  • Assessment of physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual needs
  • Assistance with establishing patient-driven goals for care, followed by coordination of care to ensure that needs are fully met

Whether it is a freshly baked cookie, a favorite pet or the right pain intervention, Massey’s thoughtfully balanced inpatient facility is designed to help patients enjoy quality of life. The Unit can accommodate any person who needs help with symptom management related to any serious illness.

Admission criteria

There are three general admission criteria:

  • An acute-care need for hospitalization;
  • A symptom or symptoms that are not adequately managed with current therapy; and
  • Patient and family goals of care that are consistent with palliative care philosophy.

A patient does not need to be admitted to the Thomas Palliative Care Unit to receive palliative care. The consult team will bring palliative care to the bedside anywhere within the VCU Medical Center.