Excellent palliative care requires exceptional communication skills which can be taught and mastered. It is not about whether to treat or not but about eliciting the patients fears, wants, needs and goals and assisting them in choosing the best interventions for specific situations and then designing the best possible care. The unique barriers to effective communication in the palliative care setting at the individual and system level are recognized and solutions to overcome these barriers are explored.
In addition to providing the most compassionate and best care to every patient every day, delivering effective palliative care as we continue our transformational journey to value based care is critically important as we consider the following facts:
- Chronic and terminal illness consumes 60% of the healthcare dollar in Medicare beneficiaries.
- When compared to “standard” hospital admissions, palliative care admissions resulted in $6900 less cost.
- Effective palliative care has resulted in shorter ICU stays and fewer unnecessary Emergency Department and hospital admissions.
In addition to understanding, connecting, and partnering with patients and families during this most vulnerable time, skills to overcome individual and system barriers and provide a comfort level to discuss chronic/terminal care are introduced.