Palliative care is a thriving medical specialty that focuses on a multidisciplinary approach, especially with the patient’s physical, emotional, spiritual, and social concerns.  It is a specialty that is appropriate for any patient in all disease stages.  Therefore, because it is such a promising specialty, many questions arise since there are so many uncertainties in this field.

In the L.A. times on October 24, 2011, Ms. Melissa Healy brings up valid points on palliative care: “Who will pay for these services, where will this new field’s workforce come from, and what is it — cost savings or compassion — that drives this new branch of medicine?”

It is difficult to answer these questions because this specialty can either not progress or it can become, “the must-have service for every hospital and physicians’ group claiming to deliver top-quality patient care.”

When a team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists work together, it has been proven that patients with palliative care are “less likely to have medical crises once they’ve gone home. They show up less often in hospitals’ emergency departments and spend less time in the intensive care unit.”

Ms. Healy notes that if this specialty is fully integrated in hospitals it “could lower the nation’s healthcare expenditures by reducing healthcare usage — to the tune of more than $6 billion a year, according to a 2010 estimate by the Institute of Medicine, which advises the federal government on medical matters.”

Though palliative care seems to be a specialty on the brink of helping patients that need this care, this specialty’s major problem is informing people what it is.

Read the full article here