Opportunities to improve the quality of care for advanced illness

Health Aff (Millwood). Sep-Oct 2009;28(5):1357-9. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.28.5.1357.


Many studies describe a sizable chasm between the care Americans consider optimal for advanced illness and what we actually experience. Aggressive or curative measures may be pursued to the exclusion of comfort, pain relief, and psychosocial support. We briefly describe a care management program that gives people culturally sensitive supportive information, to make informed choices and obtain palliative services in a timely manner. In the sample population, more members chose hospice care; acute care utilization declined. It is possible to assist Americans with advanced illness and remove barriers to selecting hospice care, if that is their choice, without adverse financial impact.

MeSH terms

  • Hospice Care / standards
  • Humans
  • Insurance Carriers*
  • Insurance, Health
  • Palliative Care / standards*
  • Patient Care Management / standards*
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Social Support
  • United States