Palliative Care Expanding Nationwide

NEW YORK, April 7 (UPI) — Palliative care, which treats the pain and stress of serious illness while seeking curative therapy, is increasing across the United States, advocates say.

Dr. Diane E. Meier, director of the non-profit Center to Advance Palliative Care, said the number of palliative programs in U.S. hospitals with 50 or more beds increased from 658, or 24.5 percent, to 1,486, or 58.5 percent, a 125.8 percent increase from 2000-2008.

“Palliative care programs are transforming care of the seriously ill in hospitals,” Meier says in a statement. “It addresses the fragmentation of the healthcare system and puts the focus back on communication with the patient and family. Hospitals today recognize that the cost of not providing this type of care is just too high.”

The analysis was conducted in conjunction with the National Palliative Care Research Center using hospital data from the American Hospital Association annual survey database.

Large hospitals and not-for-profit hospitals were more likely than other types of hospitals to have a palliative program, Meier says.

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