South Bay Hospitals Get In on Growing Trend for Hospice, Palliative Care
Several hospitals in the South San Francisco Bay area are turning to hospice and palliative services when providing patients with end-of-life care, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Hospice workers generally deliver care at the home during the last few months of life. For palliative care, medical workers focus on managing pain during any stage of disease.
By focusing on providing comfort, hospice and palliative care providers can help ease end-of-life transitions for patients and family members.
In addition, these services can reduce end-of-life treatment costs by removing the emphasis on costly medical tests and procedures.
Some observers estimate that hospice and palliative care could reduce U.S. spending on Medicare by thousands of dollars per patient. Currently, Medicare covers hospice treatment up to six months before death.
Despite the benefits of hospice and palliative care, many physicians still face barriers to providing end-of-life services.
For example, many health care workers are concerned about the threat of litigation if they do not attempt every medical treatment or procedure that could help a patient.
In addition, an individual patient often sees numerous specialists, thus posing difficulties for the coordination of end-of-life care.
Furthermore, many physicians are not trained to initiate conversations about end-of-life care with patients or families.
Some of the South Bay facilities that have implemented formal palliative care programs include:
- El Camino Hospital;
- Good Samaritan Hospital;
- O'Connor Hospital; and
- Valley Medical.