Florida is becoming a friendlier state for patients facing serious illness, according to a new report on palliative care.
The Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) graded each state on access to palliative care in its hospitals. According to the new report, almost two-thirds of Florida hospitals with 50 or more beds have a program in place – an increase from less than half in 2008. The same goes for hospitals nationwide.
“The good news is that over the last ten years palliative care teams have more than doubled,” said Dr. Diane E. Meier, director of the Center and co-author of the study.
“The bad news is that despite its enormous benefits to patients and caregivers, millions of seriously ill Americans still do not have access.”
According to CAPC, approximately 90 million Americans are living with serious and chronic illnesses. These include cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
The report finds Vermont and Washington DC to offer palliative care in all of its hospitals. Delaware and Mississippi were graded the lowest with only 1 in 5 hospitals having a program.
“I think there is a growing awareness of what palliative care is and how it can be integrated in acute care hospitals,” said Karen Washburn, Director of Lee Memorial Health System’s palliative care program.
She says more people are seeing it beyond the notion that it’s just “end-of-life care” and limited to hospice.
Palliative care teams focus on easing pain and symptoms. It emphasizes quality of life, rather than cure.
Studies show that palliative care improves patient satisfaction and saves the health care system money.
Still, a recent poll found that a majority of Americans don’t know what palliative care actually is.
Friday, 07 October 2011 10:33
Floridians Seeing Greater Access to Palliative CareWritten by Farah Dosani