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Terri Maxwell
Contributions
Over the course of my career caring for and developing programs for people with serious illness, I have...
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Despite the benefits of palliative care, cultural differences often create barriers to receiving support among certain ethnic groups. It’s critical to have culturally competent palliative care clinicians and organizational policies designed to reduce barriers and improve access to culturally diverse groups.
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Virtual visits enhance the provision of palliative care by rapidly connecting patients & caregivers to the support they need. Learn how telehealth is helping hospice and palliative care providers, patients & caregivers.
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In 2017, AARP reported that about 41 million U.S. family caregivers perform roughly $470 billion worth of unpaid labor a year. Since then, the number of caregivers has increased to 53 million, meaning that more than one out of five Americans are caregivers. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant shift in care from assisted living facilities and nursing homes to home settings.
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Family caregivers for seriously ill patients play an important role in society. Not only do they provide emotional and physical support for their loved one, but they also assume the responsibilities of preparing meals, providing transportation, maintaining the home, managing medications and coordinating doctor’s appointments. This critical role is often essential for keeping the individual safe and well cared for at home and preventing avoidable emergency department visits and hospitalization.
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The FDA approval of COVID-19 vaccines is welcomed and offers home-based palliative care clinicians much-needed hope during a challenging time. These hard-working professionals have dealt with limited in-home visits for seriously ill patients while working to prevent hospitalizations, support advance care planning, provide relief to caregivers and ensure that patients have food, medications and social contact -- while keeping themselves and their own families safe.
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Our Quick Guide to Treating Dyspnea with Opioids provides a concise evidence review of how opioids relieve dyspnea, includes recommendations for starting doses and titration, describes the role of anxiolytics such as lorazepam and answers the question “do opioids hasten death?” (the answer is no).
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Expanded MA supplemental benefits are largely tied to CMS’s updated guidance allowing plans to cover anything that has “a reasonable expectation” of improving or maintaining the well-being of beneficiaries with chronic conditions.
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When case managers partner with a structured community-based palliative care (CBPC) solution, they gain a set of “eyes and ears” into the homes of members struggling with a serious illness, resulting in better care coordination and better outcomes for members and their families.
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There is growing recognition among health care providers and payers of the need to address the often overlooked non-clinical issues that can impact care quality. These issues are often associated with social determinants of health, such as food insecurity, low health literacy, or need for transportation to fill prescriptions or attend physician appointments. Left unaddressed, they represent serious gaps in care that frequently lead to unplanned care and poor health outcomes.
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Given their emphasis on rehabilitation and recovery, skilled nursing facilities aren’t typically places where patients receive palliative care.
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As the nation’s senior population booms, and more of them turn to Medicare Advantage (MA) plans for coverage, expect growing reliance on home-based population health palliative care solutions, especially now that CMS has approved coverage of supplemental benefits.
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The traditional one-size-fits-all benefits strategy is facing a new era of complexity with 2018 finalized guidance and policies from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) enabling Medicare Advantage (MA) programs to expand the supplemental benefits1 afforded to beneficiaries.
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Loneliness and social isolation, the complete or near-complete lack of contact between an individual and society, can be acutely troublesome for seniors. That is particularly true for those who are experiencing a serious or advanced illness, where symptoms and impaired mobility make the effort required to socialize with friends and family challenging.
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) loosened reimbursement limitations on home healthcare and home-based palliative care and it resulted in a range of issues that became high-profile areas for accelerated discussions and continued coverage.
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Health disparities and complex social determinants of health (SDoH) have historically compromised patient access to quality care. But policy changes announced recently from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are expected to mitigate these challenges.
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One of the most notable synergies in this current healthcare environment is the growing complement between two disciplines: population health, which focuses on improving the health of populations, with a special emphasis on reducing disparities in health outcomes and improving the value of health care, and palliative care, which focuses on improving the quality of life for patients and families facing the challenges of a serious or advanced illness.
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Feeling lonely and isolated from friends, family and familiar places is more than simply an emotional quagmire for millions of Americans.
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Care coordination involves deliberately organizing patient care activities and sharing information among all of the participants concerned with a patient’s care to achieve safer and more effective care. This means that the individual’s needs and preferences are known ahead of time and communicated at the right time and to the right people.
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Disproportionate spending on the care of individuals as they approach the end of life is an issue that is generating significant discussion among legislators, healthcare payers and the private sectors.
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Completing advance directives (ADs) — legal documents that instruct physicians on how to carry out medical decisions – is one of the most important things that every adult, regardless of age or health status, should do. This is a person’s best way of ensuring that their wishes for end-of-life care will be carried out.
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With the growing number of at-risk patients and the associated, escalating costs of care, these healthcare buzzwords will come in handy!
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