Seven out of 10 American deaths each year are due to chronic diseases. Palliative care helps manage chronic disease and other serious illnesses. Palliative care customizes treatment to meet the needs of each individual, and is designed to relieve pain, anxiety, shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, and other symptoms. It also provides emotional and spiritual support for patients and families. Unlike hospice it is appropriate at any point in a serious illness and can be provided during curative treatment.
Said Dawn Tyler, Home Health Manager “Palliative care focuses on symptom and pain management for individuals who are facing life threatening illness. The goal of care is to improve the quality of life for patients and their families. We are very excited to be working with Stratis Health to begin the work to bring this focus to our rural area as this type of service has primarily been available only in large cities”
Committee members include Dawn Tyler (JM Homecare), Deb Ulstad (Rice Hospice), Dr. Steven Feeney (JMHS) Brenda Kalthoff (JM Care Center), Lori Pehrson (Prairie Meadows Assisted Living and JM Care Center), Anna Brabender (JM Care Center) and Monica Dessonville (JM hospital).
The committee will develop and implement an action plan to improve palliative care services in their communities. The program will help patients better manage their symptoms and improve satisfaction with the family-clinician relationships. It will allow smoother transitions between health care providers—from hospitals to nursing homes or nursing homes to home where they may receive care from a home health agency.
The seven communities and the lead organizations participating in this initiative include:
- Cloquet/Carlton County: Community Memorial Hospital Association
- Dawson: Johnson Memorial Homecare
- Kenyon: Kenyon Senior Living
- Madelia Community Hospital & Clinic Service Area: Madelia Community Hospital
- Madison: Madison Hospital Home Care Agency
- Moose Lake: Mercy Hospital
- Virginia: Essentia Health East Range Hospice
“With chronic diseases among the leading causes of death and disability in Minnesota, our health care system needs to evolve to better address these needs. We need treatment plans tailored to each patient’s goals and new delivery methods that connect multiple health care settings and community organizations,” said Jennifer Lundblad, PhD, MBA, president and CEO, Stratis Health. “By fostering palliative care in rural areas, through an approach that builds community capacity, we hope to enable these communities to meet their patients’ needs locally, so patients don’t have to leave their home community to receive this patient-centered care.”
Palliative care programs and services align well with other efforts to redesign care delivery across settings of care in communities.
Stratis Health (www.stratishealth.org) is a nonprofit organization that leads collaboration and innovation in health care quality and safety, and serves as a trusted expert in facilitating improvement for people and communities. This initiative was made possible by funds provided by UCare (www.ucare.org)