Palliative Care Leadership Centers Help Fast-Track Creation of New Palliative Care Programs

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Palliative Care Leadership Centers are six leading palliative care programs that offer site visits, individualized training and ongoing mentoring to help other healthcare institutions establish successful palliative care program. The Palliative Care Leadership Center initiative is funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and led by the Center to Advance Palliative Care.

More than 150 health care institutions throughout the United States are participating in a new mentoring program offered by The Center to Advance Palliative Care (http: to establish more palliative care programs for better management of advanced, chronic illness. Through the Palliative Care Leadership Centers initiative, healthcare teams visit one of six premier palliative care programs to receive hands-on training and mentoring to fast track their own programs.

"The strong response from hospitals and health care systems wanting to take advantage of this unique opportunity affirms that palliative care can effectively address key health care concerns", says Diane E. Meier, M.D., Director of The Center to Advance Palliative Care. “Since there are a limited number of mentoring placements available, we encourage other institutions that are considering a palliative care program to apply now so they can be considered for this program”.

The Palliative Care Leadership Centers directors believe the best way to learn how to build a palliative care program is to visit a leading program in practice and receive insight and guidance from the professionals who run the program. Healthcare professional interested in applying for the Palliative Care Leadership Center can do so by going to The Center to Advance Palliative Care Web site at:

Palliative care is a rapidly growing trend in health care. The American Hospital Association’s Annual Survey of Hospitals shows that 950 hospitals now have palliative care programs. This represents an increase of 42% since 2002 when the AHA first began reporting data on palliative care programs. As of July 2002, U.S. News and World Report included palliative care as a criterion in its special issue, America’s Best Hospitals.

Palliative care is medical care focused on the relief of suffering and support of the best possible quality of life. It is offered at any stage of illness, simultaneous with other appropriate medical treatment. Palliative care has been shown to systematically improve pain and symptom management, improve patient outcomes and increase patient and family satisfaction, as well as facilitate compliance with pain management and quality accreditation standards. Palliative care programs contribute to efficient and effective use of healthcare resources by improving continuity of care and reducing fragmentation of care delivery.

The Palliative Care Leadership Centers were chosen through a rigorous selection process, based on their clinical and program excellence, leadership, and educational experience. The six Palliative Care Leadership Centers are:

Fairview Foundation (Fairview Health Services) in Minneapolis, MN

Massey Cancer Center of Virginia Commonwealth University Health System in Richmond, VA

Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, WI

Mount Carmel Health System in Columbus, OH

Palliative Care Center of the Bluegrass in Lexington, KY

University of California, San Francisco in San Francisco, CA

The Centers, located at academic medical centers, cancer centers, health systems and community-based organizations, provide visiting healthcare teams with expertise on the financial and operational dimensions of establishing a palliative care program, including:

Hospital needs assessment;

Financial and business planning;

Organizational and service models;

Clinical operations and staffing;

Community partnerships;

Clinical and quality outcomes; and

Marketing palliative care to clinicians and patients.

For more information on the Palliative Care Leadership Centers, healthcare professionals can visit or e-mail:

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