Building Hospital Palliative Care

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The Case for Hospital Palliative Care


Working with Referring Physicians: "Walk in their shoes"

Dr. Andy E. Esch offers tips for fellow palliative care specialists on working with referring physicians.

Palliative care programs can help hospitals and health systems achieve the ultimate win-win healthcare scenario: high-quality, well-coordinated medical care at lower cost.

Steady, Rapid Growth

The number of U.S. hospitals offering palliative care services has been growing rapidly for over a decade. Researchers report that the number of programs in US hospitals with 50 or more beds increased from 658 in 2000 to over 1700 in 2012. [Source: American Hospital Association Annual Hospital Surveys and data from the Center to Advance Palliative Care’s (CAPC) National Palliative Care Registry™.)

By establishing patients’ goals of care through skilled communication and management of complex pain and symptoms, palliative care teams can meet seriously ill patients’ needs and help them avoid unwanted and expensive crisis care. Palliative care programs also link diverse hospital departments and services for effective and efficient use of hospital resources.

The Result

Palliative care increases patient and family satisfaction, it improves quality and it has been shown to help to extend survival. The resulting cost savings are an unintended but welcome consequence of providing high quality care. This approach results in higher quality, well-planned treatment that anticipates future care needs and helps to avoid unwanted and expensive crisis care.

CAPC has drawn on the experiences of a wide variety of thriving palliative care teams over the years in order to develop and standardize best practices for palliative care in the hospital setting. Our free publication, provides support and examples that help professionals demonstrate the rationale for establishing a palliative care service. It can be downloaded here.

Key Supporting Studies

Early Palliative Care for Patients with Metastatic Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer

Cost Savings Associated with US Hospital Palliative Care Consultation Programs Study

Variability in Access to Hospital Palliative Care in the United States

State-by-State Report Card


Improving Palliative Care Across the System

Maria Gatto of Trinity Health explains why palliative care fits perfectly into the current model of how health care is paid for and delivered.

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