Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dying with dignity: Challenge of palliative care in rural america

Date:
June 3, 2014
Source:
South Dakota State University
Summary:
Nearly 90 million Americans live with serious illnesses and that number is predicted to double in the next 25 years. Seven of every 10 deaths are caused by chronic conditions. A palliative health care team can improve quality of life and significantly reduce health care costs for patients dealing with chronic, life-threatening illnesses, according to researchers. However, delivery of these services in rural America, where the elderly population is growing faster than the national rate, can be challenging.

Nearly 90 million Americans are living with serious illnesses and that number is predicted to double in the next 25 years. Seven of every 10 deaths are caused by chronic conditions.

A palliative health care team can improve quality of life and significantly reduce health care costs for patients dealing with chronic, life-threatening illnesses, according to the American Cancer Society. This specialized team of doctors, nurses, social workers and other professionals can guide patients and their families through any stage of a serious illness including choosing curative treatments.

However, delivery of these services in rural America, where the elderly population is growing faster than the national rate, can be challenging.

Associate professor Mary Minton, who teaches at the SDSU College of Nursing West River Site in Rapid City, and a team of researchers examined the palliative and end-of-life services offered among South Dakota health care facilities. By 2025, nearly one-fourth of the South Dakota population will be over the age of 65, according to projections made in 2009 as part of the state's 2010-2013 plan on aging.

Surveying health care facilities

The SDSU researchers gathered information from 455 of the state's 668 health care facilities through a phone survey. These included clinics, assisted living centers, specialty clinics, hospice and home-health providers, hospitals and nursing homes.

Geographically, the facilities were 30 percent urban, 46 percent large rural and 24 percent small rural. The research was supported by the South Dakota Department of Health Comprehensive Cancer Control Program.

More than half of the facilities surveyed had no specific person as a point of contact for advanced care directives and planning, two crucial pieces of palliative and end-of-life care, according to Minton. These directives delineate the life-prolonging procedures that patients want and, more importantly, those they do not want, once they are unable to speak for themselves.

"Often these key decisions come close to the time of death when there's a lot of stress," said Minton. "Intentional palliative and end-of-life care help alleviate some of the stress associated with urgent decision making."

Among the institutions surveyed, 75 percent had a process in place for addressing advance directives and 53 percent had one for advance care planning. The staff at 80 percent of the facilities surveyed had no palliative care training and those at 73 percent of the health care institutions had no training in end-of-life care.

Decreasing health care costs

Hospital administrators are beginning to see the benefits of palliative care for the family, patient and the health care facility, according to Dr. Theresa Campbell, a family practitioner who leads a palliative care team at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital in Mitchell.

Other than hospice, South Dakota and the Northern Plains area, in general, have been relatively slow at offering palliative care to patients, explained Campbell, noting that part of her work involves educating other physicians about palliative care.

The Mitchell palliative care team is hospital-based, but some facilities in the state provide outpatient care instead, Campbell added.

Palliative and end-of-life care services are offered for both adults and children through Avera in Sioux Falls, Aberdeen and Yankton and at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls. Rapid City Regional Hospital has formed a palliative care team.

In addition, small communities such as Parkston and Freeman are also starting palliative care programs, according to Campbell. "With our aging population, palliative care services need to grow."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by South Dakota State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

South Dakota State University. "Dying with dignity: Challenge of palliative care in rural america." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603114109.htm>.
South Dakota State University. (2014, June 3). Dying with dignity: Challenge of palliative care in rural america. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603114109.htm
South Dakota State University. "Dying with dignity: Challenge of palliative care in rural america." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603114109.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Calling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a potential threat to global security, President Barack Obama is ordering 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the stricken region amid worries that the outbreak is spiraling out of control. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Nearly $1.0 billion dollars is needed to fight the Ebola outbreak raging in west Africa, the United Nations say, warning that 20,000 could be infected by year end. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is ordering U.S. military personnel to West Africa to deal with the Ebola outbreak, which is he calls a potential threat to global security. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins