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Palliative care increasing in hospitals

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 25, 2011

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The prevalence of palliative care teams in hospitals with more than 50 beds has more than doubled since 2000, said a July report from the Center to Advance Palliative Care. In 2000, about a quarter of 50-plus bed hospitals had palliative care teams. That figure rose to 63% by 2009, the most recent year for which data are available.

About 70% of 50-plus bed hospitals in the Northeast, Midwest and West have palliative care programs, but only about half of hospitals in the South offer them, said the report (link). The bigger the hospital, the more likely it has a program, with 85% of 300-plus bed facilities having palliative care teams. Fifty-four percent of hospitals between 50 and 299 beds have palliative care programs, while less than a quarter of hospitals with fewer than 50 beds have them.

Palliative care programs are composed of a multidisciplinary team of health professionals who offer coordinated pain and symptom relief to seriously ill patients.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2011/07/25/prbf0725.htm.

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