Despite the documented benefits of palliative care – goal concordant care for the patient, higher quality of life, symptom management, and increased patient and caregiver satisfaction – palliative care is still not readily available for all patients who may benefit. The Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) has been a leader in advancing palliative care programs in hospitals and community settings across the country, and they are committed to continuing to advance access to quality palliative care for all seriously ill patients.
With a more than $500,000 grant from AVDF, CAPC is undertaking three projects focused on improving quality of life among three populations for whom palliative care access is lagging – despite growth in the field: Black families, children facing serious illness, and patients who receive care without the benefit of a specialty palliative care team.
One project will gather information from health programs across the nation to uncover the most successful and impactful health interventions used with Black patients. After reviewing the data collected, CAPC plans to document best practices in providing care for this patient population – especially as it relates to serious illness – and share these best practices widely with all clinicians. Ultimately, CAPC hopes to use this data to create technical assistance materials that can be used by all health providers to improve care for Black patients and families.
The second project will focus on increasing access to palliative care for pediatric patients. According to CAPC, one of the primary factors in the slow growth of the pediatric palliative care movement is health systems’ lack of understanding about financing and billing for pediatric services. With AVDF support, CAPC will create a guide to pediatric billing codes for palliative care programs, to include Medicaid, state specific programs, and portions of the Affordable Care Act. CAPC will package this information with other valuable materials about budgeting and the financial case for palliative care for children to create a comprehensive toolkit for any pediatric provider to use.
Finally, CAPC will update their online training courses that are available to any clinician from any field or specialty. The updates will include new case studies and gamification exercises to allow individuals who complete a training module to put their new skills into practice before applying them at the bedside with patients. The goal here is to provide all clinicians with basic palliative care skills so that patients who might benefit from the provision of palliative care have the opportunity to do so even if they do not have access to a specialty palliative care team.