Palliative care in U.S. hospitals has increased yet again this year, according 2018 Palliative Care Growth Snapshot issued by the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC). The prevalence of hospitals (50 or more beds) with a palliative care team increased from 658 to 1,831–a 178% increase from 2000 to 2016.

The rise in prevalence of palliative care in U.S. hospitals has been steady over the last 16 years. In 2000, less than one-quarter of U.S. hospitals (658) had a palliative care program, compared to three quarters (1,831) in 2016.

“The continued growth of palliative care in U.S. hospitals is remarkable and a great example of the diffusion of health care innovation,” said CAPC Director Diane E. Meier, MD. “While this means that we are well on our way to ensuring that patients facing serious illness have access to palliative care, we have much more work to do. We now have to ensure that palliative care is provided in the community settings where people live.”

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 along with curative treatment. It is provided by a team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists, who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support.

As the number of Americans living with serious and chronic illness has increased, so has the prevalence of palliative care in U.S. hospitals. Their varied needs, along with the burdens faced by their caregivers, has developed a growing demand for quality palliative care that more and more U.S. hospitals are now able to meet.

The Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) is a national, member-based nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the availability of quality palliative care services for people facing serious illness. To learn more, visit

CONTACT: Lisa Morgan, [email protected]

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