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More palliative-care funding urged

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While hospitals in the U.S. are offering nearly triple the number of palliative care services to patients with chronic illness than almost a decade ago, palliative-care funding is not sufficient, a lack that could keep efforts to provide more services from meeting rising demand, a new report says.

The report by the Collaborative to Advance Funding for Palliative Care says the number of palliative-care grants and foundations making them is growing but that palliative care still receives a small share of philanthropic support for health care.

And while the range of types of palliative care supported by grants and the number of foundations making palliative-care grants both have grown, hospice receives the most support and a small number of foundations provide most of the funding, says the report, The Snapshot Report.

“Contemporary medicine’s focus on cures, a lack of understanding of palliative care by both health-care professionals and the public, and insufficient funding from public and private sources are barriers to the field’s expansion,” the report says.

Palliative care is the interdisciplinary form of care that aims to prevent, relieve and manage pain, stress and symptoms for patients with serious illness.

Participants in the research, which included 108 foundations, say demand for palliative care will grow and grantmaking in the field should increase.

The report says private foundations can support the development of the field of palliative-care grantmaking and overcome barriers to providing high-quality palliative care by encouraging support for funding in the field and collaboration among private foundations; increasing resources available to inform effective palliative-care grantmaking; and showing leadership through communication and sharing of best practices.

“The health-care field is now recognizing palliative care as both an integrated part of patient care and a growing specialty for providers,” Dr. Kathleen Foley, a member of the CAFPAC Steering Committee and attending neurologist in pain and palliative care at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, says in a statement. “This is an opportunity for philanthropists to help build on what we have not and to be a substantial influence on the growth of the field.

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