Palliative and Hospice Care: a Look Ahead

By R. Bruce Dalglish of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Updated 6/25/2018

With over 90 million Americans suffering from serious long-term or chronic illnesses, palliative and hospice care services are bound to play an ever-increasing role in the modern healthcare system.

It is projected that by year 2029, there will be more than 70 million Americans age 65 or older. As our baby boom generation continues to age, the influx of elderly patients will pose a significant challenge for our healthcare system.

Currently, traditional hospitals are not well equipped to provide quality care for those in the final stages of their life. Most hospitals lack the necessary guidelines and training to meet the unique emotional and spiritual needs of the dying.

This is why, along with expanding the existing network of palliative and hospice care centers in the coming years, more specialized training should be provided to strengthen the end-of-life care capabilities of hospitals worldwide.

The new healthcare approach will put a greater emphasis on patients’ physical, social and emotional needs, along with extended support services for their family members. The current perception and awareness about palliative and hospice care is already changing.

As we move forward, the role of dedicated palliative and hospice care centers in the overall patient care experience will continue to increase. What we do now will pave the way for the future of a more efficient, personalized and consumer-centric, healthcare.

About the Author

A resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Bruce Dalglish has served as the Chairman and CEO of Alliance Hospice and All Caring Hospice since 2005. In this role, Bruce Dalglish oversees the development and strategic direction of both companies. From 2008 – 2013, Bruce Dalglish served on the Public Policy Committee of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO).
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Disclaimer: Blogs by R. Bruce Dalglish provide educational information, not medical advice. Please consult with your medical providers when making end-of-life care decisions.

Negative Misperception Prevents Patients from Benefitting from Palliative Care, Research Shows

By R. Bruce Dalglish of Pennsylvania

New research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal indicates that many patients associate the term “palliative care” with imminent death, which prevents them from even considering this type of care.

Lead study author and head of the division of palliative care at the University Health Network in Toronto Dr. Camilla Zimmermann commented: “Patients and caregivers in our study saw palliative care as being equated with death, loss of hope, dependency, and going into places you never get out of again.”

Indeed, in my own experience as CEO of Alliance Hospice and All Caring Hospice centers, I often meet people who are reluctant to take advantage of the supportive therapies that can dramatically improve their quality of live just because of the negative stigma associated with the term “palliative care.”

The fact is, however, that palliative care has nothing to do with death. On the contrary, the numerous benefits offered by palliative care through pain and other symptom management have been proven to improve the patients’ quality of live, thus increasing chances for recovery. Unlike hospice care, palliative care is recommended throughout the course of an illness, and not only at the end of life.

The recent study highlights an important problem of the common misconception that exists in the media, our healthcare system and people’s minds. To fix it, we should reconsider the way we talk about palliative care with patients. Rather than offering it as a last resort, doctors should rightly position palliative care as a way to continue combatting an illness, while also being able to maintain the highest possible quality of life.

About the Author

A resident of Philadelphia, Bruce Dalglish has served as the Chairman and CEO of Alliance Hospice and All Caring Hospice since 2005. In this role, Bruce Dalglish oversees the development and strategic direction of both companies. From 2008 – 2013, Bruce Dalglish served on the Public Policy Committee of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO).
Follow R. Bruce Dalglish on TwitterFacebookLinkeIn and Google+.

Disclaimer: Blogs by R. Bruce Dalglish provide educational information, not medical advice. Please consult with your medical providers when making end-of-life care decisions.