Increasing Primary Care Clinicians Knowledge of Palliative Care and Implementation of Palliative Care Referral Criteria Guideline

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Pavelka-Smidt, Ashley
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Palliative care has been shown to improve quality of life, decrease symptom burden and decrease healthcare cost. However, despite these benefits, palliative care is highly underutilized. The underutilization of palliative care services is due to the lack of education among health care providers, inability to identify eligible patient and provider bias thus resulting in low palliative care referral rates. There is a shift in healthcare that indicated Americans are living longer with progressive chronic illnesses that result in decreased quality of life. Primary care providers have the ability to assess the need for and implementation of palliative care to offer symptoms management to improve patients’ quality of life, however, this assessment and referrals are being missed. The purpose of this scholarly project is to increase primary care providers knowledge and comfort regarding palliative care with educational sessions and to increase palliative care referrals to a local palliative care clinic. The objectives were to review current palliative care literature identifying barriers, develop an educational presentation and resource to improve commutation and education about palliative care to providers in a rural, primary care setting. The education and surveys were provided to two groups, healthcare providers and nurses, with a total of 13 participants. The presentation and pre/post surveys focused on the providers knowledge and understanding of palliative care, definition of palliative care and education on how to introduce palliative care to patients and their families. Assessment of all participants prior to the presentation indicated that the majority do not feel confident in their palliative care knowledge, skills, and referral process. Although further research is needed, the results of the scholarly project are encouraging that after the educational session the knowledge and understanding of all participants did increase and palliative care referrals increased from this primary care clinic.|Keywords: palliative care, education, primary care, rural healthcare
Copyright is retained by the Author. A non-exclusive distribution right is granted to Creighton University
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