Palliative Care Bills are the Right Step for Patients, Says American Heart/Stroke Association

Legislation Aligned with Association’s New Stroke Palliative Care Recommendations

March 27, 2014 Categories: Advocacy News

Washington, D.C., March 27, 2014 – The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association announced its support today for legislation aimed at improving palliative care services for patients with serious illness. A scientific statement in the association’s Stroke journal, also published today, reinforces these efforts and describes for the first time the fundamental palliative care needs of stroke survivors and their families.

Effective palliative care requires a highly-customizable patient- and family-centered approach that allows individuals to focus on quality of life by anticipating, preventing and treating suffering associated with their illness.

“Even though stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in adults, the majority of stroke patients do not receive the palliative care services they desperately want and need,” American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said. “This new paper lays out strong scientific evidence in support of palliative care to complement stroke treatment, enhance quality of life and alleviate burdens placed on family caregivers. We are encouraged that legislation has been introduced that closely aligns with these recommendations and supports funding for the research and training necessary to help healthcare professionals accomplish this goal.”

The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act introduced by Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., would establish education centers and support career development in palliative medicine. The Patient Centered Quality Care for Life Act introduced by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, D-Mo., and Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., would expand palliative care-focused research, create a workforce training initiative, and establish a stakeholder summit to address patient-centered care, among other measures.

“Patients recovering from a stroke should have a well-coordinated medical team to personalize palliative care services to optimize quality of life and minimize suffering,” said Robert Holloway, M.D., M.P.H., lead author of the palliative care scientific statement and professor and chairman of the neurology department at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York.

As a member of both the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care and the Patient Quality of Life Coalition, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is advocating for better public policy and urging Congress to come together around this important issue. With nearly 800,000 people suffering from strokes each year, the palliative care needs for stroke survivors and their families are enormous.

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For media inquiries, contact Abbey Race at abbey.race@heart.org or 202-785-7905.


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