[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 8-Sep-2008
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Contact: Lisa Morgan
lisa.morgan@mssm.edu
212-201-2675
The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Better care of sickest patients can actually save hospitals money, says largest study of its kind

New York, NY (Sept. 4, 2008) A new study finds hospitals can save more than $300 a day taking care of seriously ill patients while giving them even better care.

The Archives of Internal Medicine will publish the study by the Center to Advance Palliative Care and National Palliative Care Research Center in its September 8 issue.

With the aging of the population, especially the baby boomers, hospitals are caring for an increasing number of patients with advanced illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease and kidney failure. Palliative care programs provide a way for hospitals to meet the needs of these patients while staying financially viable.

"Americans are aging with serious, chronic illnesses," said Dr. R. Sean Morrison, director of the National Palliative Care Research Center and the study's lead author. "But despite enormous expenditures, they still get uncoordinated care, extreme burdens on their families and poorly managed pain."

According to the study of eight very different hospitals:

"The potential to reduce the suffering of millions of Americans is enormous," said Diane Meier, MD, director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care, a national organization based at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "This study proves that better care can go hand in hand with a better bottom line."

Until a decade ago, palliative care in the U.S. was typically available only to patients living at home and enrolled in a hospice program. By 2006, more than 41% of U.S hospitals reported having a program.

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About Palliative Care

Palliative care is the medical subspecialty focused on relief of the pain and other symptoms of serious illness. Palliative medicine treats serious illness regardless of prognosis. Patients can receive it at any point in their illness, with or without curative treatment.

CAPC and the NPCRC are national, non-profit organizations located at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. www.capc.org www.npcrc.org



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