3 Things Organizations Can Do to Connect Patients to Palliative Care
#1 Consider your organization’s existing infrastructure and priorities:
- What is important to your organization? What challenges is it facing, and how might a focus on those with serious illness support your organization’s goals (e.g., reducing readmissions, improving transitions of care, addressing utilization of emergency room)?
- Who is caring for those with serious illness across your health system, and what are their challenges (e.g., intensivists managing long ICU lengths of stay)?
- What resources are already in place to support those with serious illness? For example, is there an interdisciplinary palliative care team at each hospital? What training in communication or pain and symptom management is provided to all clinicians?
#2 Schedule time with the leader of your organization’s palliative care program to explore whether there are opportunities to collaborate in support of patients and clinicians. Integrating palliative care and other services to support patients across sites and services takes time to plan and coordinate.
#3 Prioritize needs and allocate resources. Examples of initiatives that will improve your system’s care of those with serious illness include:
- Clinical training: Invest in training for clinicians that care for those with serious illness, to improve communication skills and pain and symptom management skills
- Palliative care development: Develop or expand access to interdisciplinary palliative care (e.g., establish a division for palliative care, expand teams into clinics, etc.)
Use CAPC Resources
- COVID-19 Response Resources Hub for clinical and operational resources to address patient and family suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Clinical training in core palliative care skills for all clinicians (including nonpalliative care specialists)
- Needs assessment tools and courses
- Tools for building an effective, high-performing, interdisciplinary palliative care team