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What is palliative care

by | Jun 17, 2021

Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on relieving the symptoms and stress of any serious illness, ideally alongside curative treatment. Because it focuses on the highest need and highest cost patient segment, palliative care is an essential strategy for population health management.

What are the benefits of palliative care?

  1. Improves quality of life and symptom burden
    a.     Reduce symptom distress by 66% with improvements lasting months after initial consultation[i]
  2. Drives high satisfaction and positive patient experiences
    a.     93% of people who receive palliative care are likely to recommend it to others[ii]
  3. Reduces avoidable spending and utilization in all care settings
    a.     Inpatient: decrease readmissions by 40%[iii] and reduce cost y 28% per day[iv]
    b.     Outpatient setting: Decrease admissions by 50% and decrease ED visits by 35%[v]
    c.     Skilled nursing setting: Reduce hospital and ED transfers by 43%[vi]
    d.     Home-based care: Reduce 36% of total healthcare costs[vii]

Why are palliative care providers partnering with hospital providers:

The American Hospital Association has partnered with the Center to Advance Palliative Care and asked hospital leaders to reexamine their approach to palliative care, identify patients needing additional support and build a care plan centered on the whole patient, both clinical and emotional needs.

[i] Kavalieratos D, Corbelli J, Zhang D, et al. Association Between Palliative Care and Patient and Caregiver Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2016;316(20):2104–2114. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.16840

[ii] Boehler, A. NICHM Foundation Webinar, “Prioritizing Super-Spenders: Coverage and Care for High-Need Patients.” (May 19, 2017)

[iii] May, P, MM Garrido, JB Cassel, et al. “Cost Analysis of a Prospective Multi-site Cohort Study of Palliative Care Consultation Teams for Adults with Advanced Cancer: Where Do Cost Savings Come From?”J Palliat Med, (2017): 31(4)

[iv] Adelson, K, J Paris, JR Horton, et al. “Standardized Criteria for Palliative Care Consultation on a Solid Tumor Oncology Service Reduces Downstream Health Care Use.” J Oncol Pract, (2017): 13(5)

[v] Scibetta, C, K Kerr, J Mcguire, MW Rabow. “The Costs of Waiting: Implications of the Timing of Palliative Care Consultation among a Cohort of Decedents at a Comprehensive Cancer Center.” J Palliat Med,(2015): 19(1)

[vi] Miller, SC, JC Lima, O Intrator, et al. “Palliative Care Consultations in Nursing Homes and Reductions in Acute Care Use and Potentially Burdensome End-of-Life Transitions.” J Am Geriatr Soc, (2016)

[vii] Lustbader, D, M Mudra, C Romano, et al. “The Impact of a Home-based Palliative Care Program in an Accountable Care Organization.” J Palliat Med, (2016): 20(1)

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