Designing an Inpatient Palliative Care Program

Last Reviewed: March 4, 2019

As of 2017, more than 90% of hospitals with 300+ beds had an inpatient palliative care service. Hospital palliative care programs support patients in crisis by:

  • Identifying and addressing sources of suffering
  • Helping patients make goal-concordant care-plan decisions
  • Planning for appropriate care post-discharge

If you are starting—or expanding—an inpatient service, always begin with a needs assessment.

What’s in the Toolkit

Make the case for your program’s impact on care quality and costs.

Palliative Care Ensures Value

Last Updated: February 3, 2019

One-page infographic to introduce your organization leaders, referrers, and health plans to the quality, satisfaction, and utilization improvements resulting from palliative care.

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The Case for Hospital Palliative Care

Last Updated: February 25, 2019

Key messages for health system leaders, applicable across settings. Center to Advance Palliative Care, revised 2018.

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Demonstrating Value to Stakeholders

Last Updated: March 4, 2019

Tools to make the case for palliative care resources and financial partnerships, including: the palliative care evidence base, and downloadable tools for presenting the case.

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Engage stakeholders—patients and families, organizational leadership, referrers, and financial partners—to guide program design.

Needs Assessment for the Hospital Palliative Care Program

Last Updated: January 15, 2015

Evaluating patient need, service requirements, and stakeholder priorities for the inpatient program.

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Hospital Program Needs Assessment Data Collection Tool

Last Updated: January 29, 2019

Articulate the rationale for a hospital palliative care program or expanded service, and identify patient demographic and utilization data that guide the design of services. Center to Advance Palliative Care, 2015.

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Hospital Program Stakeholder Interview List

Last Updated: January 29, 2019

Planning document for stakeholder interviews. Center to Advance Palliative Care, 2015.

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Hospital Program Interview Guide

Last Updated: January 29, 2019

Tips and sample questions for conducting stakeholder interviews during the needs assessment process. Center to Advance Palliative Care, 2015.

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Hospital Needs Assessment Key Findings Worksheet

Last Updated: January 29, 2019

Synthesize needs assessment data to guide program design. Center to Advance Palliative Care, 2015.

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Concept Proposal Outline

Last Updated: January 29, 2019

Annotated template for a formal concept proposal for the inpatient palliative care program. Center to Advance Palliative Care, 2015.

Patient population, staffing mix, and service components all contribute to program design, which is guided by information from your needs assessment.

National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care, 4th edition

Last Updated: January 29, 2019

The National Consensus Project (NCP) Clinical Practice Guidelines are the national standard for high quality palliative care. National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care, 2018.

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Hospital Palliative Care Program Design

Last Updated: January 15, 2015

Incorporating needs assessment and stakeholder priorities into design of a high-quality inpatient program.

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Palliative Care Leadership Centers™

Last Updated: February 7, 2019

PCLC is a training and mentoring program in palliative care program design. Choose from nine centers of excellence to develop a customized two-day in-person training to match the needs of your organization, followed by a full year of mentoring with PCLC faculty as your launch or grow your program. For new and mature programs in all care settings and all patient populations.

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The CAPC Guide to Building a Hospital Palliative Care Program

Last Updated: February 25, 2019

Comprehensive manual on hospital-based palliative care program design. Center to Advance Palliative Care, 2008.

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Hospital Patient Volumes and Characteristics Worksheet

Last Updated: January 29, 2019

Estimate patient volume using national comparative data from the CAPC National Palliative Care Registry. Center to Advance Palliative Care, 2015.

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Hospital Program Design Service Features Checklist

Last Updated: January 29, 2019

Planning worksheet for coverage, service norms, and staffing on the inpatient team. Center to Advance Palliative Care, 2015.

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Hospital Palliative Care Program Staffing Worksheet

Last Updated: January 29, 2019

Project staffing FTE per discipline based on expected patient volumes. Center to Advance Palliative Care, 2015.

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Hospital Palliative Care Program Design Variables to Consider

Last Updated: January 29, 2019

A catalog of design decisions and trade offs to refine your program design. Center to Advance Palliative Care, 2015.

Patient Identification and Assessment

Last Updated: March 4, 2019

Toolkit for finding the right patients at the right time to address gaps in care.

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Building and Supporting Effective Palliative Care Teams

Last Updated: March 4, 2019

Hire and onboard your staff, manage program operations, and ensure a healthy high-functioning team using this toolkit.

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Operational Features for Hospital Palliative Care Programs: Consensus Recommendations

Last Updated: February 3, 2019

Journal of Palliative Medicine, 2008.

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Estimate start-up costs, operational costs, and reimbursement for the hospital palliative care program.

Building the Business Plan for Your Hospital Program

Last Updated: January 15, 2015

Building a budget and a business plan for the inpatient program. Includes business planning tools.

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Funding a Palliative Care Program

Last Updated: March 4, 2019

Toolkit for building a business plan and budget, forming financial partnerships, and operating the program efficiently.

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Optimizing Billing Practices

Last Updated: March 4, 2019

Toolkit with billing and coding best practices for palliative care services delivered in the hospital or the community.

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National data provide a basis for comparison as you design your inpatient palliative care program.

Measurement Best Practices

Last Updated: March 4, 2019

Use this toolkit to select program measures that demonstrate value to stakeholders and support quality care delivery. Overcome common measurement obstacles and synthesize program data.

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National Palliative Care Registry™

Last Updated: February 27, 2019

A publicly available national database of palliative care programs and operational metrics, free of charge to all palliative care programs. Submit program data to receive reporting and to track program growth and capacity over time. Compare your program to peers to help make the case for adequate staffing and program quality.

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How We Work: Trends and Insights in Hospital Palliative Care

Last Updated: February 25, 2019

A comprehensive profile of hospital palliative care programs participating in the National Palliative Care Registry™ from 2009 to 2015. Highlights national trends to promote standardization and improve the quality of hospital palliative care. Center to Advance Palliative Care, 2017.

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