Puerto Rico-based Brisas Health has launched a new supportive care service in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the organization’s founding.
The program, branded as Brisas Supportive, will provide palliative care services for patients suffering from chronic illnesses, including services that are not universally covered by health insurance plans.
“During this commemorative year of 20 years of Brisas Health, we are thrilled to introduce Brisas Supportive, a new practice that reflects our ongoing commitment to compassionate and patient-centered health care,” the organization indicated in a blog post. “With Brisas Supportive, we aim to provide a renewed sense of freedom in health care, allowing everyone to access palliative care without the restrictions of any one specific health care plan.”
The program is aimed at supporting patients with chronic conditions such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, dementia, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, end-stage renal disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, among others.
Brisas also operates a separate, traditional palliative care program.
In addition to the new supportive care service, Brisas Health has established the Dr. Héctor Acosta-Hernández Fund to fund care for patients who cannot afford to pay for it.
Demographic tailwinds are driving palliative care growth in Puerto Rico.
Close to one-quarter of the U.S. territory’s population of 3.2 million people are age 65 or older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Puerto Rico has the 10th largest senior population in the world, according to a 2022 study.
A range of factors are contributing to the need for additional support for Puerto Rican seniors, including the growing prevalence of chronic illness and off-island migration among younger demographics.
“The outmigration of more than 700,000 working-age adults (ages 20–64) in the last 15 years is responsible for the accelerated pace of population aging; an unconventional pattern that has not been documented in any other region of the world,” the study found. “Consequently, left-behind older adults in Puerto Rico are facing the reduction of social resources and potential caregivers, disrupted social networks and environments, and increased social isolation: social factors highly associated with overall health and well-being in late life.”