AIM staff were keenly aware of a significant void in management of hospitalized patients in the NE PA region. Namely, palliative care and hospice did not have any presence at all at several facilities that AIM partnered with. The clinical need became obvious, as so many patients were being cared for who would have benefitted from a dedicated palliative care team. With a goal of further improving quality of care, AIM decided to take on this project head-on by creating a
palliative care division in late 2015. AIM is fortunate to have three board certified palliative care providers on its team, who were all eager to help create this much needed service line. Further research into the prospects of this team showed the hospital’s enormous financial implications of having a palliative care team while simultaneously improving quality of care.

With the full support of administration, the Palliative Care team began trial services late in 2015, and began the program fully in 2016. The team consists of palliative care physicians, a CRNP, case manager, and a chaplain. The initial response was overwhelming, with significant support from the medical staff. AIM is currently working on obtaining staff approval of mandated triggers for palliative care consultation in the ICU and CCU in order to obtain maximal benefit from the program. The Palliative Care team is expected to grow significantly as the hospital and medical staff further appreciate how this team will impact patient satisfaction, quality of care, and costs. In addition, the program has now moved beyond the walls of our hospital facilities and into AIM’s skilled nursing facility partners, where significant cost savings and quality improvement are anticipated there as well.

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