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New Palliative Care Network to Be Developed Amid Pandemic

A new home- and community- based palliative care network (HCBP) to address community care during the COVID-19 pandemic response will be developed by the Arizona Coalition to Transform Serious Illness Care and the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC). This network will provide palliative care both at home and in the community, allowing more patients to remain safe and at home by helping them and their family caregivers manage conditions and avoid crises that stem from uncontrolled symptoms and acute events.

The Coalition, partnering with the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA), Discern HealthArizona End of Life Care Partnership (AZEOLCP) and others, conducted a study that identified the need for a HCBP network, especially in light of the ongoing pandemic. The study was funded by the Lovell Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.

“This study reinforces the urgent need to meet people with serious illness where they are,” said C-TAC Executive Director Jon Broyles. “By connecting individuals and families with the services they need in a setting that is right for them, we can keep them safe and improve their quality of life during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”

“Often confused with hospice care, palliative care is much larger and not only for end of life care,” said Sandy Severson, senior vice president of care improvement for AzHHA. “Palliative care focuses on helping patients and their care givers create goals of care so they can focus on living well. This new network will be a valuable addition to Arizona healthcare.”

The network will be designed to help patients, with the support of family members, manage their conditions from the safety of their homes and reduce the risk of crises that could require a hospital visit. The recommended components of this network are:

  • Management of symptoms that stem from serious, chronic illness & pain management
  • Use of an interdisciplinary team
  • Efficient coordination of care
  • Goals of care conversations to promote Advance Care Planning
  • Collaboration with primary care
  • Access to telehealth
  • Connection with provider- and community-education programs
  • Connecting patients with community-based services and supports that target social determinants of health

Phase 2 of the program will be the development of this new model and to target pilot cities in the state where it can be implemented. This phase will begin early this year.

Background/Methodology

Through a literature review, a survey sent to the Arizona Coalition Steering Committee, exploratory interviews with key informants, and collaboration with the Community Service Supports workgroup, Discern Health gathered evidence to develop recommendations for which interventions the Arizona Coalition should pursue to improve care and outcomes for the seriously ill.

To learn more about the findings and methodology for the study, please click here.

About the Arizona Coalition to Transform Serious Illness Care:

The Arizona Coalition to Transform Serious Illness Care (AZ Coalition) is a group of 40+ stakeholders in Arizona working to improve the quality of care and outcomes for people with serious illness. This organization is led by the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, the Arizona End of Life Care Partnership, Discern Health, and the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC) with support from the David and Lura Lovell Foundation