An increasing number of hospitals around the country are starting palliative care programs, designed to relieve seriously ill patients’ pain, stress, and symptoms regardless of how long they have to live, according to Kaiser Health News. The Center to Advance Palliative Care at Mount Sinai School of Medicine reports that now more than two-thirds of hospitals with more than 50 beds offer palliative care, compared with one in four in 2000.
While some doctors oppose palliative care because they believe it prevents patients from getting important medical treatment, the programs will likely continue to increase to meet the needs of the aging baby boomers generation, and as hospitals seek to reduce costs and increase value to meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Research has shown that palliative care reduces health care costs though avoiding unnecessary treatment and getting patients out of the hospital more quickly. Researchers have also found that it improves patient satisfaction and lengthens patients’ lives.
The INQRI-funded “Nursing's Specific Contributions to Quality Palliative Care within the Context of Interdisciplinary Intensive Care Practice” explores the relationships between quality palliative nursing care delivered in intensive care units (ICUs) and patient and family outcomes and on how to measure and to improve these outcomes. The purpose of this investigator-initiated study was to examine nursing's specific contributions to quality palliative care provided to patients and their families in the ICU. This interdisciplinary team was led by Lissi Hansen and Richard Mularski.