Access to palliative care is improving, but work still needed

Although access to palliative care services has improved in recent years, improvement is still needed, according to a report by the Center to Advance Palliative Care and National Palliative Care Research Center.

The report examined palliative care access in hospitals throughout the country, and graded each state on its access. 

Key findings:

  • Large hospitals with 300 or more beds are more likely to report having a palliative care team (85%)
  • There were wide geographical differences in access to palliative care, those living in the South had significantly less access to palliative care services. 
  • There has been significant improvement in palliative care access since the 2008 report card; overall, the country received a B, up from a C in 2008, and the number of states receiving an A has improved from 3 in 2008, to 7 plus Washington DC in 2011. 

The study concludes that although access is improving, work still needs to be done in small and rural hospitals. 

(Sources: AHA News Now, http://ahanews.com, October 5, 2011; The Center to Advance Palliative Care, http://www.capc.org, accessed October 2011)