AHRQ’s Health Care Innovations Exchange Focuses on Integrated End-of-Life Care
The October 24 issue of AHRQ’s Health Care Innovations Exchange features three profiles of programs that use palliative care and care coordination to help elderly and terminally ill patients make greater use of hospice and home care services, thereby reducing the incidence of inpatient stays. One innovation was spurred by home and hospice service line leaders in California who realized that patients frequently came to hospice care late in the end-of-life process. These leaders sought to create a new type of service that would not discourage patients and physicians from using it. Their vision was realized in Sutter Health’s Advance Illness Management program, a systems-based model that connects hospitals, physician offices, and home-based services in bridging the gap between acute care and end-of-life care for Medicare patients with late-stage chronic illness. It provides ongoing counseling to patients and families to help them understand their options, focuses on helping patients with serious illness clarify their personal care goals, designs care plans to support and achieve these goals, and helps patients control the symptoms of their advanced illness. The program increased use of hospice care, reduced inpatient and ambulatory care utilization and overall care costs, and generated high levels of patient, caregiver, and physician satisfaction. Select to read more innovation profiles related to end-of-life care on the Innovations Exchange Web site, which contains more than 725 searchable innovations and 1,500 QualityTools.