With the remarkable advances in health care, treatments for serious illnesses like cancer and diabetes are saving millions of lives each year and helping people live longer. 

People who have a serious illness want to live in a way that is meaningful to them. They want to work together with their health care providers to create a care plan that helps them live their best life. 

That’s where palliative care teams can really make a difference. Their goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and family. Palliative care can be provided along with other medical treatments — and at any age and any stage of illness. As of 2019, 72% of U.S. hospitals with more than 50 beds had a palliative care team. Patients can graduate out of palliative care, and as clinicians, we celebrate when they do. 

To recognize innovation in palliative and end-of-life care and provide models for the field, the Circle of Life Awards are given annually. Honorees have demonstrated effective, patient- and family-centered, timely, safe, efficient and equitable palliative and end-of-life care. 

It’s really been an honor for organizations in the Providence family to have received this award in the past. We believe that palliative care is an integral part of whole person care, and we offer it across our footprint of seven states. It is team-based care, pulling in clinicians, social workers and chaplains to partner with patients in their care planning. Those discussions include advance care planning that empowers patients to make decisions about their future treatment. 
  
If your hospital or health system has an innovative program that is serving people with serious and life-limiting illness, I encourage you to apply for the 2022 awards. There’s still plenty of time to submit your application before the Aug. 16 deadline. 

You can learn more and find inspiration by viewing a video about the 2020 Circle of Life Award winners — Novant Health, Spectrum Health Lakeland, Four Seasons The Care You Trust, and Morrison Medical Center. My congratulations to each of the honorees! In addition, the AHA, in partnership with the Center to Advance Palliative Care, offers a comprehensive online resource hub on palliative care for health care providers, including patient success stories

Providing innovative, high-quality palliative care means building a care plan centered on each patient’s clinical, emotional and cultural needs and goals. This care model is meaningful and important to patients and their families, and is another way hospitals are transforming care for people living with serious illness. 

Rod Hochman, M.D.
AHA Chair


 

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