Why palliative care

Palliative Care is patient- and family-centered care that prioritizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing and treating symptoms associated with serious illness while addressing physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual needs. Generally, palliative care is provided by an interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains and other specialists working together to provide patients an extra layer of support, regardless of age or stage of their serious illness. Studies show palliative care results in better patient and family satisfaction, improved home safety and medication management, and can be provided alongside curative treatment, helping patients, families and caregivers through challenging times.

Why palliative care needs consensus standards

To increase the spread of palliative care, a group of interested individuals convened as the California Advanced Illness Collaborative (CAIC). The mission was to make high quality palliative care available as a standard part of medical care for all Californians, with an initial strategy to define standards for palliative care across a community or system, and to pilot the standards. Initiated and co-chaired by Dr. Marcus Thygeson, MD, Chief Health Officer of Blue Shield of California and Judy Thomas, JD, Chief Executive Officer of the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California, they convened experts including healthcare researchers, providers and health plan representatives as a CAIC Planning Group. Together, this group of thought leaders developed the following Community-Based Palliative Care Consensus Standards for CaliforniaThe goal is to accelerate implementation and access to palliative care services through a standard approach which will, in turn, enable providers to standardize operating procedures, referrals and care in their communities. These Consensus Standards are specifically designed to build off prior work of the CHCF Payer-Provider Partnerships for Palliative Care, as well as developmental implementation work related to SB 1004.

The California Advanced Illness Collaborative (CAIC) has been funded, in part, by the 2016 Practice Change Leaders (PCL) program made possible by the generous support of the Atlantic Philanthropies, a limited life foundation, and the John A. Hartford Foundation. The PCL program is under the direction of Eric A. Coleman, MD, MPH. To learn more about the program, please visit www.changeleaders.org.

Request for feedback

On behalf of the members of the CAIC, we offer these Consensus Standards for consideration and feedback. Comments will be reviewed and considered for future updates and incorporated in to the Pilot Project Planning Grant process now underway at the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California. Comments should be submitted by April 30, 2017 to Leah C. Morris, MPH, NP, Director of Policy and Payer Relations. (Email: lmorris@CoalitionCCC.org)

CAIC presentation

Recently, at the 9th Annual Palliative Care Summit,  CAIC members presented the Consensus Standards document. Video of the panel discussion, including a question and answer period, is below.