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Palliative Care in Hospitals Continues Rapid growth Trend for 11th Straight Year, According to Latest Analysis

New York, NY (September 5, 2012) — Palliative care in U.S. hospitals has increased for the 11th consecutive year, according to a new analysis released today by the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC). The number of hospitals with a palliative care team increased from 658 (24.5%) to 1,635 (65.7%)—a steady 148.5% increase from 2000-2010.

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. This type of care is focused on relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness - whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.

Palliative care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and can be provided together with curative treatment.

The steady growth of palliative care has been primarily in response to the increasing number and needs of Americans living with serious and chronic illness. Also contributing to the rise of palliative care are the overwhelming caregiving burdens faced by patients’ families. Palliative care addresses these challenges through a strong partnership of patient, family and palliative care team.

”Palliative care teams are transforming the care of serious illness in this country because they address a fragmented healthcare system and put control and choice back in the hands of the patient and family,” said Diane E. Meier, MD, director of the non-profit Center to Advance Palliative Care. ”Hospitals today recognize that palliative care is the key to delivering better quality and better coordinated care to our sickest and most vulnerable patients.”

Key Findings

  • Large hospitals are more likely to have a team. (87.9% of hospitals with 300 or more beds have a team compared to 56.5% of hospitals with 50-299 beds.)
  • The Northeast and South show the greatest growth.
  • The Northeast has the greatest growth and the highest prevalence. (75.8% of hospitals in 2010 compared to 73% in 2009.)
  • The South shows some growth, but still has the lowest prevalence. (52.7% of hospitals in 2010 compared to 51% in 2009.)


The Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) ( and is affiliated with Mount Sinai School of Medicine and is dedicated to increasing palliative care services for people facing serious illness

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