Hospice programs, Palliative Care, Community based palliative care
Whatcom County has established significant specialty palliative care services, including a strong Hospice Program, an Inpatient Palliative Care Consultation Service, and a low volume outpatient palliative care clinic for patients with advanced cancer based in the PeaceHealth Comprehensive Cancer Center. Family Care Network has also started a low volume nurse practitioner based home care program for vulnerable patients. However, the vast majority of palliative care is provided by generalist providers outside of formal palliative care or hospice programs.
Substantial gaps in specialty palliative care services exist throughout the care continuum in Whatcom County. Specialty and primary care providers cite the need for specialty palliative care services for homebound patients and patients with advanced illness. Nursing home and assisted living staff also cite the need for advanced palliative care consultations for their complex patients. In summary, there is a strong unmet need for outpatient and home-based palliative care services in Whatcom County.
It is widely recognized that palliative care improves quality of life for patients with advanced illness and their families, reduces costs, and advances the Triple Aim. The literature supporting the value of palliative care will not be reviewed in this document.
Johnston, Bree, "White Paper: Building a Continuum of End of Life Care in Whatcom County: Invest in Community-Based Palliative Care" (2014). Northwest Life Passages Coalition Documents. 6.
Whatcom County (Wash.)
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