ElderBranch Looks at New Models in End-of-Life Care

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Several organizations are testing innovative ways to improve end-of-life care through programs that deliver comprehensive care earlier in a person’s disease trajectory. ElderBranch examines three such palliative care programs and the promising results realized to date.

ElderBranch today released the second in a four-part series on end-of-life care – End-of-Life-Care II: Innovative Palliative Care Models. Part two takes a look are three cutting edge palliative care programs that are trying to turn the tables on end-of-life care: Kaiser Permanente's In-Home Palliative Care Program, Sutter Health’s Advanced Illness Management (AIM)® Program, and Providence Hospice and Home Care and Everett Clinic’s Palliative Care Program.

All programs are trying to tackle key problems in the current system: patients at the end of life not being informed of their treatment alternatives, patients’ preferences and wishes not being taken into account by their care providers, many patients dying in a hospital setting when they prefer to die at home, and the resulting impact that all of this is taking on the health care system at large, including escalating costs and inefficiencies.

The programs target people suffering from multiple chronic conditions, in poor or declining health, and near the end of life. Candidates are recruited in a variety of settings and by a variety of care providers.

Care is administered by an interdisciplinary team of professionals including doctors, nurses, social workers, and sometimes also chaplains, therapists and health aides. The interdisciplinary team is critical to delivering well-rounded care, including pain and symptom management, emotional and spiritual support, as well as any necessary medical interventions.

After an initial period focused on educating the patient and his/her family and conducting thorough assessments of the patient’s needs and wishes, a comprehensive plan of care is developed by the care team. On an on-going basis, one or more members of the care team conduct periodic home visits and phone check-ins and coordinate services and treatment for any kind of specialized care as and when required.

All three palliative care programs have demonstrated promising results to date including fewer hospitalizations and shorter hospital stays, more patients opting to pursue hospice care, more patients dying in the home and lower overall costs of care.

In next part of the series, ElderBranch will speak to Susan Enguidanos, Ph. D. about Kaiser Permanente’s In-Home Palliative Care program.

About ElderBranch
ElderBranch is an online information portal that helps people find and evaluate long-term care providers. ElderBranch’s mission is to support users in making the best decision possible for themselves and their loved ones. ElderBranch currently offers a comprehensive, national database of nursing homes and useful articles and tools to help users navigate senior care issues and decisions.

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Anila Sitaram Venkat
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