Palliative care is defined as a “multidisciplinary approach to specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses.” The overarching goal of palliative care is to offer people relief from pain, physical stress, various symptoms, mental anxiety, and so forth when dealing with chronic and ongoing health issues. Hospitals are generally the focal point of palliative care, but as the cost of insurance and health care increases, there is an opportunity to help people get improved levels of support and care at home through agencies and other providers.
The number of people devoted to palliative care and hospital settings has increased, but that doesn’t indicate an increase in supports at home, where quality of life may be higher because patients would be surrounded by familiarity and comfort.
According to the National Palliative Care Registry report, 2009-2015: How We Work: Trends and Insights in Hospital Palliative Care:
“Much of the growth in palliative care interdisciplinary teams is attributable to an increase in APRNs, the number of which has almost doubled from 2009 to 2015.
Hospitals with 500 or more beds saw the largest growth in the core interdisciplinary team, from 3.8 FTE in 2009 to 6.7 FTE in 2015, a 77% increase. While there has been growth across disciplines, increases in physician and social worker staffing are primarily limited to larger hospitals.”
Home care agencies have an opportunity to connect with hospitals and determine if there are any supports they might provide to improve quality of life, comfort, and physical support to those individuals in these programs. Becoming involved in palliative care can be boosted through certain registries, though this article does not promote any particular one or even emphasize that this is necessary.
Networking with local care practitioners is one of the most effective ways to ensure people of all ages get the short and long-term care they require at home.
It was also noted in the NPCR report:
“Participation in the Registry is free and open to all palliative care programs across the continuum of care—including hospital, home, long-term care, and office practices. By participating in the Registry, you will add your program data to the national profile of palliative care, receive access to custom reports that measure your program’s progress year-to-year, and assess your program through comparisons with peer programs. Your participation also helps promote standardization and improve the quality of palliative care.”
In many ways, palliative care could coincide with the federal government’s pressure to reduce hospital readmission rates through increased information, resources, and support services through home care agencies.