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Report: Few hospitals offer good palliative care

October 6, 2008 by  

Some regions do not have good access to palliative careThose who are seriously ill may want to think twice about entering a hospital in the southern U.S., following the results of a new study.

Palliative care is a holistic approach to advanced progressive illness that focuses on managing symptoms and providing support as part of an effort to improve quality of life.

Patients suffering from chronic diseases such as heart disease, liver and kidney failure and Alzheimer’s may benefit from this type of healthcare.

The National Palliative Care Research Center and the Center to Advance Palliative Care evaluated the access to these types of services at hospitals across the U.S.

As a whole, the nation’s access was graded a C, with three southern states – Oklahoma, Alabama and Mississippi – receiving an F.

In contrast, only three states received the top grade: Vermont, Montana and New Hampshire.

Around 41 percent of southern hospitals offered palliative care, compared with 53 percent across the country as a whole.

"Without palliative care, people with serious illnesses like cancer often suffer unnecessarily from severe fatigue, pain, shortness of breath, nausea and other symptoms," commented co-author of the report Dr. Diane E. Meier.
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