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A powerful ally to improve health care
Improving health care, achieving greater patient satisfaction while saving costs? That's the aim of the new Palliative Care Institute, a unique collaborative of The University at Buffalo, and The Center for Hospice & Palliative Care (CHPC). The Palliative Care Institute is one of the first in the nation to have a multi-school interdisciplinary program with a hospiceand university system. Palliative (pal-lee-ah-tive) care is medical care focused on relief of pain, symptoms, and stress of serious illness to help people live comfortably and to provide the best possible quality of life for their patients and their families.
"At a time when Americans are concerned about rising health care costs and are demanding health care reform, the Palliative Care Institute is a powerful ally to improve health care for one of our community's most vulnerable populations - people diagnosed with long-term chronic diseases and debilitating illnesses," said William E. Finn, president and CEO of The Center for Hospice & Palliative Care.
"These patients - especially those in acute care settings where 70% of deaths still occur - are frequently burdened by costly and unwanted therapies, poorly controlled symptoms, financial stress, and unrealistic or poor communication with their caregivers," noted Finn. "The Palliative Care Institute will interconnect community and university efforts across disciplines with the goal of establishing excellence in palliative care clinical practice, research and education. The need for physicians educated and trained in palliative and end-of-life care will clearly escalate as our population ages and patients continue to be diagnosed with long-term chronic diseases and debilitating illnesses."
Today, there are more than 4,700 hospice programs nationally, caring for more than 38.8 percent of the Americans who die each year. However, many studies have shown that only a fraction of eligible patients are appropriately referred to hospice, most within days or weeks of death, when the benefits of this care are compromised.
The collaboration between the hospices and academic communities is a natural one given the interdisciplinary nature and scope of palliative medicine. If palliative medicine is to advance into a mature discipline, the relationship will be an essential one.
The Center for Hospice & Palliative Care, Hospice Buffalo's parent company, has built a strong educational program. In 2002, CHPC successfully established The Center for Excellence in End-of-Life Education, Research & Practice through a grant from the John R. Oishei Fuondation. The newly created Palliative Care Institute creates and all encompassing platform that integrates community resources, health care providers and academic institutions in collaborative partnerships to advance the field of palliative care medicine.
Together with UB's School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Social Work, School of Pharmacy, School of Health Related Sciences, and CHPC, the partners of the Institute universally share the vision of improving the way in which palliative care is presented to our future practitioners and practiced by our community's health care providers.