Palliative Care – A Top Priority

What is Palliative Care? Palliative Nursing Network

Palliative Care – A Top Priority

The need to make quality palliative care services available across the United States is growing. The number of Americans living with serious illnesses increases annually. Palliative care is expert medical care for individuals with critical illnesses focusing on addressing symptom and stress management of a serious illness. Palliative care services are offered concurrently with other medical treatments. The goal of palliative care is improving the quality of life for patients and family members. One does not have to be enrolled in hospice to take advantage of palliative care services.

  • There are over 12 Million adults & 400,000 children living with serious illnesses
  • 72% of hospitals with greater than 50 beds have palliative care programs
  • 66% reduction in symptom distress is reported by palliative care patients
  • $3.5 Billion per year savings is possible with nationwide implementation of palliative care programs

Meeting the Need

Hospitals and physician practices are moving towards value-based reimbursement. They are expanding and redesigning palliative care programs. A key component of this process involves improving access to these symptom management services. Healthcare providers are recognizing that palliative care programs are essential to a patient’s wellbeing. They are encouraged to offer palliative care services more aggressively to better meet patient symptom management needs.

Who Benefits?

Individuals with advanced chronic conditions including heart failure, COPD, dementia, cancer patients most frequently benefit from these services. One should always ask if their particular situation would benefit from palliative care services.

Symptom Management

Common symptoms addressed by the palliative care service include shortness of breath, pain management, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, anorexia, depression, and anxiety. Symptom management approaches are customized to meet the patient’s individual needs and modified as the condition changes. The goal is to keep the individual as comfortable as possible.

Where is Palliative Care Provided?

Palliative care services anywhere ever the patient is; in the hospital, skilled nursing facility, nursing home, assisted living or home.

How to Get Palliative Care Services?

Speak to your healthcare provider to determine if you or your loved one’s clinical condition would benefit from palliative care services. Your provider will advise you of locally available palliative care options. Access to palliative care services may be limited by your geographical location, choice of providers may be restricted by your insurance provider. Should you encounter any difficulties, speak to your insurance company’s customer service department to identify a provider.


2015 State-by-state report card on access to palliative care in our nation’s hospitals. How does your state rate?  

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