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J Palliat Med. 2012 Jan;15(1):25-8. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2011.0280. Epub 2011 Dec 14.

Leveraging external resources to grow and sustain your palliative care program: a call to action.

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  • 1Palliative Care Program, Division of Hospital Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143-0903, USA.


Hospital-based palliative care is becoming increasingly prevalent. There is growing evidence that it is having a positive impact on patients and their loved ones. In 2008, national data indicated that 58.5% of hospitals with 50 or more beds had a palliative care program. Data from a 2008 survey of California acute care hospitals showed that although 33% of sites had inpatient consultation services, one in five had been operational for only one year. As nascent palliative care programs grow, new issues arise and needs and plans change. Just as palliative care programs benefit from marketing and education plans, they also benefit from a plan to leverage external resources. Largely a missed opportunity, external resources such as organizations, networks, and experts can help palliative care service (PCS) leaders and team members gain information on everything from best practices to funding opportunities, while serving as sources for personal and professional support. The growing number of active PCSs and the increasing availability of support and expertise ensure that new programs no longer have to face challenges alone. Further, the steady increase in the number of new programs has created opportunities for those who are more experienced to serve as mentors for peers who are navigating the challenges of growing and sustaining a clinical service. The authors encourage both mentors and mentees to seek support from or provide support to others in the field. Leveraging the collective expertise and experiences in our field can ensure that palliative care continues to thrive and grow.

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