Palliative Care in Texas

In 2014, only 43 percent of Texas hospitals with 50 or more beds offered organized specialized palliative care services, which was far below the national rate of 67 percent (National Palliative Care Report Card).

The Palliative Care Interdisciplinary Advisory Council and other key stakeholders work to raise awareness about the need for expanded services and more palliative care providers. The council assesses the availability of palliative care services and advises the Texas Health and Human Services Commission about matters related to palliative care so that more Texans can access quality care.

Benefits of Providing Palliative Care

Benefits for Patients

Patients receiving timely palliative care:

  • Experience less pain and other symptoms associated with serious illness.
  • May desire to have fewer hospital admissions with adequate extra layers of support available at home.
  • Often live longer after being diagnosed with metastatic cancer.
  • Are more likely to receive treatments consistent with patient preferences and goals of care.

(Texas Palliative Care Interdisciplinary Advisory Council Recommendations to the 85th Texas Legislature [PDF])

Patients with serious illnesses often are not the only ones affected by pain and stress. Family members of patients also take on the demand of finding and providing care while dealing emotionally with the potential loss of their loved one. Evidence-based benefits of palliative care for family members include:

  • Less conflict and emotional distress.
  • Improved family and patient satisfaction.
  • Less depression.
  • Better coping.
  • Fewer post-traumatic stress symptoms.

(Texas Palliative Care Interdisciplinary Advisory Council Recommendations to the 85th Texas Legislature [PDF])

Benefits for Providers

Benefits of palliative care for providers include:

  • Help with extensive patient-family communications, coordination of care across settings and comprehensive discharge planning.
  • Help with pain management and the comfort of patients with highly symptomatic and complex cases, in support of the treatment plan of the attending clinician.
  • Promotion of patient and family satisfaction with the clinician’s quality of care.