Hospice and Palliative Care
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Assuring access to quality palliative care services whenever and wherever patients and families need them is a goal for the field. However, realization of this construct is a challenge as each provider organization struggles to define its own outcomes, expectations and corresponding resource allocation priorities – a process that challenges service integration.
Integration, Collaboration and Innovation
Collaboration between hospice, hospitals and community-based programs is more than possible. There are excellent opportunities for innovation and improving the care of people facing seriously illness whether they are in the community setting or in the hospital.
Fortunately, there are now significant incentives for improved integration:
- Hospitals are seeking ways to reduce length of stay and improve the use of ICU beds − which translates into a need for alternative quality-of-care options
- Hospice staff have the skills and experience to facilitate care transitions for seriously ill hospital patients
- Community-based palliative care providers, including hospices, who offer non-hospice palliative care services are increasingly in positions to avert unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency department utilization
- ACO incentives encourage systems’ development
- Hospitals and community-based providers are defining collaborative models: partnership agreements, acquisition and/or creation of new hospital-owned entities
- Medicare Hospice Benefit regulatory constraints challenge hospices to assure access to needed care through partnerships with other providers and via service diversification, including development of non-hospice palliative care initiatives
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