Patient-Centered Palliative Care Can Cut Costs, Improve Outcomes

Palliative care adapted to specific high-risk patients' needs can reduce emergency room visits, improve overall care and drive down healthcare costs, but the current policy and practice framework presents numerous obstacles to its implementation.

Palliative care adapted to specific high-risk patients' needs can reduce emergency room visits, improve overall care and drive down healthcare costs, but the current policy and practice framework presents numerous obstacles to its implementation, according to a new report from the Journal of Palliative Medicine.

"Much of the intent of these programs is to overcome both the balkanized health system--hospital, outpatient practice, nursing home, assisted living, hospice--and the disconnect between medical disciplines--primary care providers, hospitalists, cardiologists, oncologists, surgeons, and other specialists--that can frustrate and confound patients," wrote Kathleen Unroe, M.D., of the Indiana University, and Diane E. Meier, M.D., of the Center to Advance Palliative Care.

There are two major obstacles to broader implementation of palliative care, according to a blog post from the New York Times. Firstly, it's typically--and incorrectly--equated with hospice/end-of-life care, Meier said. "Hospice is a form of palliative care for people who are dying, but palliative care is not about dying," she told the Times. "It's about living as well as you can for as long as you can."

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Source: FierceHealthcare