End-of-life care for sick patients is garnering more attention from hospitals and health systems because of its impact on costs. Now leaders need to invest in training physicians to talk to patients about their concerns and wishes.
Angelo Volandes, MD, MPH, is passionate about patients. More specifically, he fervently believes that every physician has a responsibility to give patients information they need to make decisions about the medical interventions they want when they are dying. It's not an easy conversation, and Volandes believes, it's not optional, either.
Hospital and health system leaders are eyeing palliative care programs closely because the ROI is there to support the move toward a more compassionate way of caring for a sick patient. Studies have shown that patients who received palliative care in the hospital in the last week they were alive, had significantly fewer ICU admissions and fewer instances of ventilator use.
In a HealthLeaders Media webcast this week on the strategic use of palliative care, speaker R. Sean Morrison, MD, co-director of the Patty and Jay Baker National Palliative Care Center, as well as director of the National Palliative Care Research Center, and professor of geriatrics and medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, called palliative care "essential" to responding to the aging population.
"Palliative care teams relieve symptoms, distress, and uncertainty; communicate what to expect and match treatment to patient and family goals; and help coordinate care."
Jacqueline Fellows is a contributing writer at HealthLeaders Media.