Delaware-based Bayhealth Health System has expanded its palliative care services program by opening an outpatient palliative care location in Dover, the capital city of their home state. The system launched its palliative care program in 2016, at the time focused on inpatients.
At a time when more health care stakeholders are recognizing the value of home- and community-based care, a rising number of hospitals and health systems are expanding their services outside of their walls, particularly when it comes to palliative care.
“We’re incredibly proud of the growth we’ve seen with palliative care at Bayhealth,” said Nurse Practitioner Theresa Latorre-Tegtmeier. “This is a much-needed service that we’re providing to our community, and it ties into our strategic goal of growing and developing quality programs across the region.”
Bayhealth operates a number of hospitals, surgery centers and specialty clinics throughout the Delaware region. While patients and families benefit from expanded access to community-based palliative care, the increasing presence of hospitals in the space could present increased competition for hospices, which provide 50% of home- and community-based palliative care in the United States according to 2019 research by the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC).
New York state-based Saratoga Hospice earlier this year launched a community-based palliative care program, citing increased demand for those services.
During 2019, North Dakota-based CHI-St. Alexius Health System has extended its palliative care program to include outpatient and home-based services. The hospital’s inpatient palliative care team in 2013 became distinguished from its hospice services.
Athens, Ga.-headquartered St. Mary’s Health System has expanded their hospital-based palliative care program outside of their walls and into patients’ homes in three Georgia counties. SSM Health and Allina Health made similar announcements last year.
Palliative care in general can reduce health care costs by more than $4,000 per patient, according to a July 2017 study in Health Affairs. It can also reduce the frequency of 911 calls, emergency department visits, and unnecessary hospitalizations.
With the opening of the new outpatient palliative care program, Bayhealth patients will have access to half-day clinics on Mondays and Thursdays.
“With this change, we’re offering patients the ability to continue care outside of the hospital. Currently there’s a lack of resources in the community, and we’re hoping to fill that hole with our resources,” Bayhealth Clinical Nurse Specialist Jessica Taylor said.