September 29th, 2014
Editor’s note: This post is part of a periodic Health Affairs Blog series on palliative care, health policy, and health reform. The series features essays adapted from and drawing on the volume, Meeting the Needs of Older Adults with Serious Illness: Challenges and Opportunities in the Age of Health Care Reform, in which clinicians, researchers and policy leaders address 16 key areas where real-world policy options to improve access to quality palliative care could have a substantial role in improving value.
As is well-known to most readers of Health Affairs, specialist palliative care is, and has always been, about helping seriously ill patients and families determine what matters most to them, and then helping them achieve their goals. Research demonstrates the beneficial impact of palliative care services on quality of life, survival, family caregiver outcomes, and symptom burden.
As an epiphenomenon or side-effect of the improved quality resulting from these models, multiple studies demonstrate lower intensity and costs of health care. Palliative care can make enormous contributions to health care value because by improving patient- and family-centered outcomes, it leads directly to reduced costs, for both payers and providers.Read the rest of this entry »