Palliative Care – Are We There?

Angie Szumlinski News

End-of-Life Care, Palliative Care, Hospice, different names, similar care delivery; however, are you aware that the settings where this care should be available don’t always have the resources to provide it? In a recent study published in JAMDA, it identified that despite caring for patients with serious illnesses and poor prognosis, only a minority of LTACHs in the U.S. have a palliative care program.

As you know, LTACHs (long-term acute care hospitals) receive Medicare & Medicaid reimbursement for the care provided, so it seems odd that they wouldn’t also provide palliative care. Some of the services provided in these centers include mechanical ventilation, wound care, dialysis, and rehabilitation with a median survival of only 8 months. Thus the confusion, right?

It might be time for these centers to look at their service offerings to ensure patients at end-of-life and their families/caregivers, are provided with the needed support of a palliative care team. Ensuring that these services are available may improve patient and caregiver satisfaction, quality of life, and end-of-life experiences. Also, families and caregivers of a resident at the end-of-life need these services, they need the support of a trained, empathetic team of caregivers to get them through the process. Does the palliative care program in your center meet the needs of your community? Ask yourself, would it meet YOUR needs if it was your mom or grandma needing care? Stay well, stay informed, and stay tuned!