Unlike hospice, which is limited by Medicare reimbursement policies in the kinds of patients it can admit by virtue of their prognosis, palliative care programs often see patients for whom prognosis is uncertain. Some programs take patients in the early stages of congestive heart failure, helping them live with their disease by controlling symptoms. Many see patients who may have more than a year to live.
Within this broad framework, palliative care programs are able to serve patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, congestive heart failure, emphysema, stroke, sickle-cell anemia, Alzheimer's, and dementia. In general, referrals can come from within the hospital itself, from other community organizations, from chart reviews, and from patient and family requests for service.
To determine their referral base, organizations need to gather and analyze information about deaths in the community, collecting data such as:
8.5.1 Case Study - Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center
8.5.2 Case Study - Parkland Health & Hospital System
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This online version of the book Improving Care for the End of Life: A Sourcebook for Health Care Managers and Clinicians is provided with permission of Americans for Better Care of the Dying [ www.abcd-caring.org ] and Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
For further information on quality improvement in end-of-life care visit The Palliative Care Policy Center [ www.medicaring.org ].