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Department of Oncology and Palliative Care Unit, Santa Maria del Prato Hospital (ULSS1 Dolomiti)


Santa Maria del Prato Hospital owes its name to the "Scuola Santa Maria del Prato", founded in the mid-15th century and managed by Conventual friars in order to dispense care for people. In the 1930s the hospital began to expand for the purpose of becoming a tubercular diseases sanatorium, until it turned into one of the largest hospital complexes of the time.

Nowadays, it is one of the main hospitals of ULSS1 Dolomiti, together with San Martino Hospital in Belluno. Santa Maria del Prato Hospital is a Reference Centre for Oncological and Gastroenterological Surgery. The Department 'Centre for Oncological and Gastroenterological Surgery' includes the Units of Surgery, Gastroenterology, Oncology, Anatomy Pathology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Otolaryngology, Radiology, Anesthesia, Palliative Care, Nuclear Medicine, Radiotherapy, Surgery, Gastroenterology, and the UOSD Pain Therapy and Chronic Gastrointestinal Inflammatory Diseases Unit. These structures collaborate and share therapeutic strategies in order to promote clinical research activities and ensure quality of care.


The Complex Operating Unit of Oncology is part of the Medical Area Department. It deals with diagnosis, treatment and periodic checks of patients with cancer (non-haematological).
All medical services are provided on an outpatient basis. The Oncology Unit involves four oncologists and six nurses. Within the ward there are two rooms available for therapies administration with three and seven seats respectively, one room used for blood sampling and one for endovesical instillations. In addition, a service for central venous catheter with peripheral access (PICC) placement is available to patients belonging to the Oncology Unit and other Units of the Hospital. Moreover, a resident psychologist is available for all oncological patients from the first oncological visit.


The Complex Operating Unit of Oncology treats any kind of solid tumor andcontinuous patient assistance is guaranteed from the diagnosis. This result is also achieved through the support of the palliative care unit, including the simultaneous care multidisciplinary equipe made up of palliative care physicians, nutritionists, a psychologist, and physiotherapist in accordance with the DGR 553 30/04/18 of Veneto Region, which recommends the presence of Simultaneous Care (CS) in oncology departments. In addition, an efficient cooperation and collaboration with family doctors ensures continuous assistance to the patient.

  • The Oncology Unit is a constitutive part of the GOMs (Multidisciplinary Oncologist Group), in which challenging clinical cases are discussed with the aim of evaluating the most suitable treatment strategies for the patient and indication to genetic screening.
  • The Oncology Unit research activities are carried out through participation in numerous international and national clinical studies, in particular aimed at experimentation on astroenteric, pulmonary, gynecological and breast cancer.
  • The Oncology Units has collaborated with the Palliative Care Unit since 2012, year of the establishment of the service. Their integration has developed a lot in these years also through shared projects, such as a Lean Management project for the process structuring.

Palliative and Supportive Care


The Operating Unit of Palliative Care involves a multidisciplinary and multi-professional team, it dispenses home care, reaching 80,000 patients. In addition, residential hospice care is available, providing seven beds, as well as bedside palliative care in hospital, palliative care within a nursing home and simultaneous care in the Oncology Department ambulatories.
The multi-professional and multidisciplinary team is made up of doctors, nurses, social health operators, psychologist, physiotherapist, a social worker and spiritual assistant, who perform different activities according to the support planned for the patient.
The team deals with the management of complex symptoms, artificial nutrition, terminal sedation, the execution of small invasive practices (paracentesis, thoracentesis), the management of clinical emergencies through bedside ultrasound, and psychological support for the patient and their family, including grief support.
Bedside hospital consultations are carried out jointly by the doctor and the palliative care nurse expert in order to treat and contain complex symptoms and to organize the protected discharge.
Outpatient activity is carried out through a close collaboration between palliativists, oncologists, nurses, the psychologist and nutritionist, as well as nurses from both the Oncology and Palliative Care Unit, offering the best clinical practice and psychological support to the patient.

Last update: July 2022


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