ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 12 An article published in the February 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association helps physicians to better understand what constitutes quality hospice and palliative care and determine which end-of-life care options may be best for their patients.
Options for care at the end of life have increased in recent years. With more than 1,400 hospital-based palliative care programs and 4,700 hospice programs across the U.S., patients and family caregivers coping with life-limiting illness have a broader range of choices than ever before.
Guidance regarding end-of-life care is increasingly important as a generation of baby-boomers begins to confront issues at the end of life, for themselves and their parents.
"While all hospice programs are very good, there are some programs that are really excellent," said Joan Teno, MD, a professor of community health and medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. "You want to choose the hospice program that is striving and achieving excellence in quality of care."
The JAMA article, "Referring a Patient and Family to High-Quality Palliative Care at the Close of Life," written by Teno and Stephen Connor, PhD, consultant for research and international development at National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, will help physicians and families make well-informed decisions about care.
For professionals, Teno and Connor developed guidelines -- which they call the three C's -- to help determine whether the care being considered is "competent, compassionate and coordinated."
For families, they developed what they call "the five C's" -- the characteristics which families should look for when choosing a hospice or palliative care program:
NHPCO and Brown University's Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research have collaborated over the past decade to create data collection and reporting tools providing actionable feedback on care quality and resources for hospices to ensure high quality of care.
More information about hospice and palliative care is available from NHPCO's Caring Connections at www.caringinfo.org or via the HelpLine at 1-800-658-8898. Online materials include the brochure, Hospice Care: A Consumer's Guide to Selecting a Hospice Program.
-- Competent care by interdisciplinary team -- Care that is Centered on patient and family needs -- Coordinates care and provides correct access to needed services -- Compassionate, and -- Committed to quality
SOURCE National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization