Report measures U.S. palliative care quality

Palliative care, which focuses on improving the quality of life for patients with serious illnesses, was first recognized as a specialty in Great Britain in the late 1980s. Since then, the discipline has matured and become a widely-recognized approach for treating certain patients. Now, a researcher has issued a report card rating the quality of such care across the U.S. 

The report card, which appears in the October issue of the Journal of Palliative Care, was created by Dr. R. Sean Morrison, a professor of geriatrics and palliative care at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and director of the National Palliative Care Research Center.

Using American Hospital Association data and other sources, the Center graded states on the percentage of hospitals with palliative care programs that were set up appropriately to meet the needs of seriously ill patients. The report card's state-by-state ranking gives only Vermont, Montana and New Hampshire an A grade, while giving Oklahoma, Alabama and Mississippi an F. Most southern states didn't put on a good showing. 

Overall, 52.8 percent of American hospitals with more than 50 beds have palliative care programs, but only 20.3 percent of for-profit hospitals have them, and only 28.8 percent of hospitals that are sole community providers of medical care.

To learn more about the report card:
- read this HealthDay News piece

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