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Palliative care is traditionally provided in a medical care setting or by hospice service to patients with advanced cancers and other terminal illnesses, and is not typically provided through the home care benefit. However, some seriously ill home care patients, who are in active treatment and not ready to choose hospice care, could benefit greatly from certain palliative care interventions, including pain and symptom management, assistance with advance care planning, psychosocial support, and nutrition consultations. This grant to Calvary Hospital—experts in palliative care—will provide funding toward the first year of a three-year project. Calvary will provide palliative home care training to clinicians and aides, educate providers on how to identify appropriate patients for referral, pilot-test the palliative home care model with 75 patients, and develop disease- and discipline-specific guidelines. Years two and three of this project would fully test and refine a model of palliative home care. To assess the impact of palliative home care on quality of life and on medical costs, Calvary will compare rates of rehospitalizations, medical crises, and completion of advance directives for patients enrolled in palliative home care to rates for a comparable group of previous Calvary home care patients.
Resources for family caregivers and health care providers are available at our Next Step in Care website.