Palliative Care | November 2021 | Clinical Corner

November 1, 2021

Palliative Care

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines palliative care as an “approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems- physical, psychosocial, and spiritual.”


McLaren’s Palliative Care Program is administered by the McLaren Health Management Group’s Palliative Care team. Patient care is provided by Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and Masters of Social Work (MSW) who collaborate with the patient’s primary care physician and other specialist physicians as appropriate.


Palliative Care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious/chronic illness, and it can be provided along with curative treatment. Care is provided wherever the patient calls “home”, which includes the patient’s private residence, Extended Care Facilities (ECF)/Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF), Memory Care settings, Assisted Living and Adult Foster care settings.

Who qualifies for Palliative Care?

  • A patient with a new or existing diagnosis of life-limiting disease, serious illness, or chronic condition
  • Symptom control, physical or emotional
  • Patient and family in need of support
  • Patients with two or more hospitalizations within three months

Goals of Palliative Care:

  • Relieve symptoms and distress
  • Help the patient better understand their disease and diagnosis
  • Help clarify treatment goals and options
  • Understand and support the patient’s ability to cope with their illness
  • Assist the patient and their family with Advanced Care Planning
  • Care collaboration with all members of the patient’s care team
  • Reduce acute care utilization- ED visits, IP admissions and readmissions

Benefits of Palliative Care:

  • Improves quality of life
  • Honors the patient’s wishes for dignity
  • Provides evidence-based care for symptom management
  • Demonstrates team-based care and collaborations with the patient, family, staff, and care team
  • Provides a common platform to discuss goals of care and advanced directives
  • Palliative care teams working in home-based programs have been shown to reduce avoidable spend as much as $12,000 per patient enrolled.
  • Reduces avoidable spending and utilization in all care settings:
    • 48% reduction in readmissions
    • 50% reduction in admissions
    • 35% reduction in ED visits
    • 36% reduction in total costs.

Referral Options:


  • Any age
  • Chronic condition or serious illness
  • Collaboration with other health care professional involved in patient’s care
  • By relieving stress or worry related to social determinants of health Palliative Care improves the patient’s quality of life.


  • Lustbader D, Mudra M, Romano C, et al. The impact of a home-based palliative care program in an accountable
  • care organization. J Palliat Med. 2017 Jan;20(1):23–28. doi:10.1089/jpm.2016.0265. Epub 2016 Aug 30.
  • Scibetta C, Kerr K, Mcguire J, Rabow MW. The costs of waiting: implications of the timing of palliative care consultation
  • among a cohort of decedents at a comprehensive cancer center. J Palliat Med. 2016 Jan;19(1):
  • 69–75. doi:10.1089/jpm.2015.0119. Epub 2015 Nov 30.
  • Miller SC, Lima JC, Intrator O, et al. Palliative care consultations in nursing homes and reductions in acute
  • care use and potentially burdensome end-of-life transitions.
  • J Am Geriatr Soc. 2016 Nov;64(11):2280–2287. doi:10.1111/ jgs.14469. Epub 2016 Sep 19.
  • Lukas L, Foltz C, Paxton H. Hospital outcomes for a homebased palliative medicine consulting service. J Palliat Med.
  • 2013 Feb;16(2):179–184. doi:10.1089/jpm.2012.0414. Epub 2013 Jan 11.
  • World Health Organization. 2004.
  • Center to Advance Palliative Care. 2021.


For more information, please contact Yvonne LaFave, FNP-BC Manager Palliative Care at