Hospital palliative care doubles in past decade

As one of the fastest growing specialties, palliative care in hospitals has increased 138 percent in the past decade, according to a Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) report released yesterday. In fact, 63 percent of U.S. hospitals now have palliative teams.

Researchers found that there are 1,568 teams nationwide, up from just 658 in 2000.

Not surprisingly, larger hospitals with 300 or more beds tended to house palliative care programs; 80 percent of large hospitals have such a program.

"Growth of palliative care has occurred primarily in response to the increasing number of Americans living with serious and chronic illnesses and to the caregiving realities faced by their families."

Palliative care is aimed at improving the quality of life and care of seriously ill patients and their families, according to a CAPC press release.

Hospitals and health systems continuously face questions as to where to invest in service lines. The report indicated that almost all (95 percent) of the surveyed seriously ill patients and their families want to be educated about palliative care. Ninety-two percent said they would consider palliative care for a loved one, and 92 percent felt it is important to make such services available.

"These are extremely high numbers by any polling standard," said pollster Bill McInturff, partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies, in the press release.

For more:
- read the press release
- check out the CAPC report (.pdf)

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