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Palliative Care

Exceptional Palliative Care for your Organization

MUSC palliative telehealth provides partner organizations with access to a palliative care provider who can help with pain and symptom management, advanced care planning, and supportive care for patients. The telehealth service is an extension of the same high-quality care patients receive during in-person visits with our specialists. The goal of palliative care is to improve quality of life for both the patient and family by:

  • Improving pain and symptom management
  • Reducing anxiety and depression
  • Increasing patient and family satisfaction

Palliative Care services are available to anyone with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition and are appropriate at any age and any stage in a serious illness, and may parallel a curative treatment. Palliative care specialists treat many disease types and chronic illnesses, such as:

  • Cancer
  • Complex injuries, such as brain injuries
  • Heart disease, such as congestive heart failure (CHF)
  • Kidney disease
  • Lung problems, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Memory problems such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease
  • Neurological problems, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Benefits to our Partners:

Improves Quality of Care

  • Higher Patient and Family Satisfaction: Palliative care was associated with statistically and clinically significant improvements in patient quality of life and symptom burden at 1 and 3 month follow ups. Palliative care was also associated with improvements in advance care planning, patient and caregiver satisfaction, and lower health care utilization. 1
  • Decreased Pain & Suffering: 75% of patients with moderate or severe pain demonstrated clinically significant reductions in pain to mild or none after palliative care consultation. 2
  • Longer Survival: Early integration of palliative care resulted in survival that was prolonged by approximately 2 months and clinically meaningful improvements in quality of life and mood.“11.6 months vs. 8.9 months, P = 0.020.” 3 

Cost Savings

  • Reduces costs per admission: Palliative care consultation was associated with a reduction in direct hospital costs of almost $1700 per admission ($174 per day) for live discharges and almost $5000 per admission ($374 per day) for patients who expired, including significant reductions in pharmacy, laboratory, and intensive care unit costs when compared with usual care patients. 4
  • Earlier consultation decreases costs: Palliative care within 6 days is estimated to reduce direct costs by 14%when compared with no intervention, and care within 2 days is estimated to reduce costs by 24% when compared with no intervention. 5

At this time, scheduled palliative telehealth consultations are available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., through a service contract with the MUSC palliative telehealth program. The Duke Endowment awarded MUSC a $1.27 million grant to create a statewide Palliative Care Telehealth program and has provided subsidies for three years for this service. By year three, we are aiming to provide 24/7 palliative telemedicine coverage. To learn more about the MUSC Palliative Telehealth Service, please contact 843-792-5776 or palliativetelehealth@musc.edu

1 Kavalieratos, D., Corbelli, J., Zhang, D., Dionne-Odom, J. N., Ernecoff, N. C., Hanmer, J., . . . Schenker Y. (2016) Association Between Palliative Care and Patient and Caregiver Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA, 316(20):2104-2114. doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.16840.

2 Bell, C. L., Kuriya, M., & Fischberg, D. (2011). Pain Outcomes of Inpatient Pain and Palliative Care Consultations: Differences by Race and Diagnosis. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 14(10): 1142–1148. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2011.0176

3 Temel, J. S., Greer J. A., Muzikansky, A., Admane, S., Jackson, V. A., Dahlin, C. M., . . . Lynch, T. J. (2010). Early Palliative Care for Patients with Metastatic Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer. New England Journal of Medicine, 363:733-742, doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1000678

4 Morrison, R. S., Penrod, J. D., Cassel, J. B., Caust-Ellenbogen, M., Litke, A., Spragens, L., Meier, D. E., Palliative Care Leadership Centers' Outcomes Group. (2008). Cost Savings Associated With US Hospital Palliative Care Consultation Programs. Arch Intern Med. 2008, 168(16):1783–1790. doi:10.1001/archinte.168.16.1783

5 May, P., Garrido, M. M., Cassel, J. B., Kelley, A. S., Meier, D. E., Normand, C., . . . Morrison, R. S. (2015). Prospective Cohort Study of Hospital Palliative Care Teams for Inpatients With Advanced Cancer: Earlier Consultation Is Associated With Larger Cost-Saving Effect. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 33(25), 2745-2752. doi:10.1200/jco.2014.60.2334