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Many seriously ill Americans lack access to palliative care

(Reuters Health) Millions of Americans suffering from serious illness lack access to care that could improve their quality of life by relieving pain and other symptoms, a study finds.
Access to so-called palliative care is greatest in the New England, Pacific and mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S., researchers report in the Journal of Palliative Medicine. Far fewer hospitals have palliative care programs in the Southern states.
People who live near larger hospitals are also more likely to have access to palliative care – it’s offered in 90 percent of hospitals with at least 300 beds but just 56 percent of hospitals with fewer beds…
“Considerable data now demonstrates that when patients receive palliative care in addition to traditional medical care, they have improved quality of life, greater satisfaction with their medical care, are less likely to be re-admitted to the hospital or have to visit an emergency department, and in certain diseases (i.e. cancer) have greater survival,” [senior author Dr. Sean] Morrison said by email.
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