Calif. Health Systems Issue Guidelines To Improve End-of-Life Care
A coalition of Southern California health systems has developed joint recommendations for providing more effective end-of-life care, KPCC's "KPCC News" reports (Roman, "KPCC News," KPCC, 5/21).
A release about the guidelines notes that nearly 80% of state residents want to speak to their health care provider about end-of-life care, but only about 10% have actually done so, according to research by the California HealthCare Foundation. CHCF publishes California Healthline.
In addition, CHCF researchers found that while 82% of residents think it is important to write down their preferences for end-of-life care, fewer than 25% had done so.
Details of Coalition
The coalition, called the Los Angeles Advance Care Planning Group, is made up of nearly a dozen health systems that provide care for more than five million Californians.
Participating hospitals include:
- Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles;
- HealthCare Partners Medical Group and its affiliated physicians;
- Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena;
- Kaiser Permanente Southern California;
- LAC+USC Medical Center in Los Angeles;
- MemorialCare Health System in Orange County;
- Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar;
- Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance;
- Providence TrinityCare Hospice;
- The University of Southern California's Keck Medical Center; and
- UCLA Health System (Cedars-Sinai release, 5/21).
Details of Guidelines
The coalition's guidelines recommend that health care providers:
- Encourage all patients to plan in advance for end-of-life care and make such an approach standard;
- Ensure that patients with chronic and progressive conditions have timely access to palliative care and other support services;
- Advise patients about the potential benefits and consequences of medical treatments as they relate to end-of-life care; and
- Work with patients to implement "shared-decision making" to decide what the most favorable care would be in specific scenarios.
Glenn Braunstein, vice president of clinical innovation at Cedars-Sinai and one of the coalition's leaders, said, "The time to have that conversation [about end-of-life care] is when people are well, not when they're very sick."
Braunstein also noted that planning in advance for end-of-life treatment preferences could reduce health care costs, noting that many medical expenses usually are incurred in the last month of a patient's life ("KPCC News," KPCC, 5/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.