In a major national effort to integrate and improve palliative care in the ICU, the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) has launched The IPAL-ICU Project.

Supported by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health and developed by experts in both critical care and palliative care, The IPAL-ICU Project will be the central U.S. hub for shared expertise, evidence, tools and resources. The goal is to promote a paradigm shift in the way that critically ill patients, and their families, are cared for in the ICU.

Approximately six million people in the U.S. end up in the ICU each year. For many, ICU treatment may be accompanied by distressing symptoms. Families often fail to receive information to address their concerns and help them make treatment decisions.

Palliative care has proven effective in meeting these needs but is often unavailable in the ICU. The IPAL-ICU Project seeks to close this gap, assisting with implementation of palliative care in all types of ICUs and for all critically ill patients, regardless of prognosis.

“Palliative care and intensive care are synergistic approaches to critical illness,” says Judith E. Nelson, MD, JD, Project Director of The IPAL-ICU Project and Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “Little more than a decade ago, palliative care was seen as appropriate only when death was inevitable and imminent. Now we recognize that from the time of admission to the ICU, all critically ill patients and their families should be able to benefit from palliative care.”

Palliative care focuses on pain and symptom management, coordination of care and effective communication, including an emphasis on family support and shared decision-making. The growth of palliative care programs in US hospitals has been exponential over the last decade. In the last five years alone, the number of these programs has doubled.

“CAPC is thrilled to join with the National Institute on Aging to support this pioneering project,” says Diane E. Meier, MD, Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care. “We expect to see an enormous positive impact on the care of the critically ill, who are the sickest and most vulnerable patients in America’s hospitals.”

About The IPAL-ICU Project

The IPAL-ICU Project provides essential tools and resources to support the improvement of palliative care for all ICU patients and their families. IPAL-ICU is committed to assisting providers across disciplines to deliver outstanding palliative care as an integral component of comprehensive critical care, from the time of ICU admission, regardless of prognosis. The IPAL-ICU Project is supported by the Center to Advance Palliative Care and the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging.

About the Center to Advance Palliative Care

The Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) provides health care professionals with the tools, training, and technical assistance necessary to start and sustain successful palliative care programs in hospitals and other health care settings. Located at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, CAPC is a national organization dedicated to increasing the availability of quality palliative care services for people facing serious illness.

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Contact: Lisa Morgan, LDM Strategies, 212-924-6182 or [email protected].

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