News Headlines Article

Palliative care in California: Improving, but not everywhere
San Jose Mercury News

California’s system for handling serious and end-of-life care is improving, but more services are needed to meet patient demand, according to two major reports released on Thursday.

A growing number of the state’s hospitals — especially in the Bay Area — are offering palliative care to comfort patients living with serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and dementia, protecting them from futile, often painful medical treatments, the reports say.

Seventy-four percent of hospitals in the state offer some type of palliative care program, compared to a national average of 66 percent. In 2008, only 56 percent of California hospitals had such programs, according to one of the reports, “America’s Care of Serious Illness,” by two national palliative care organizations.