An Overview of Palliative Care across the Continuum of Care

Tuesday, 19 November 2013: 8:30 AM

Wyona M. Freysteinson, PhD, MN
Nelda C. Stark College of Nursing, Texas Woman's University, Houston, TX

Learning Objective 1: Explore the possibility of a collaborative palliative care model across outpatient departments, day care, home health, hospice, hospitals, healthcare systems and regional palliative care networks.

Learning Objective 2: Reflect on how palliative care may have changed the trajectory of one manís death.

In 2006, palliative care became a medical subspecialty in the United States. Since that time, palliative care has extended beyond end-of-life hospice care to earlier points in disease trajectories. In 2004, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that palliative care should begin for patients whenever a chronic or potentially terminal disease state was diagnosed. In this presentation, the benefits of palliative care are reviewed. An eagle’s eye view of various palliative care models across the health care continuum is presented. The presenter brings to life the importance of early and collaborative palliative care through reflection on a patient who died while enduring full resuscitation procedures in an intensive care unit. The literature suggests that had palliative care been initiated at the time of diagnosis of chronic obstructive lung disease and continued through to the time of his demise, three positive outcomes would have occurred: his quality of life would have been maintained or improved; he would have had a “dignified death”; and his loved ones would have had greater satisfaction with his care. The hospital would have been part of a more humane, holistic, and cost-effective approach to patient care.