Palliative Care

What’s new?

  • On July 23, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA) passed on a voice vote, which means no record of individual votes were recorded.
  • The legislation will now move to the U.S. Senate for debate and consideration.  If you would like to take action in support of this legislation, please visit our Action Center here.

What is the issue?

  • The healthcare community has come together through several coalitions in order to adequately fund, provide research and educate patients and families about palliative care.
  • The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA) would (H.R. 1676/S.693):
    • increase palliative care and hospice training for healthcare professionals,
    • launch a national campaign to inform patients and families about the benefits of palliative care, and
    • direct NIH to expand research in the areas of palliative care, pain and symptom management.
  • Catholic healthcare is a leader in this area.  A 2015 study America’s Care of Serious Illness found that 90% of Catholic hospitals provided palliative care.

Why does it matter?

  • By 2030, 20 percent of the United States’ population will be over age 65.
  • Generally incurable and ongoing, chronic diseases affect approximately 133 million Americans, representing more than 40% of the total population of this country. This is projected to grow to an estimated 157 million, with 81 million having multiple conditions.
  • The goal of palliative care is to improve patient quality of life, prevent and relieve suffering, improve communication, and honor patients’ wishes so they can live as fully as possible even with a serious or chronic health conditions.
  • Palliative care is a team-based approach that focuses on relieving symptoms as well as physical, emotional and spiritual stress while supporting the best quality of life for patients, their caregivers, and their families.
  • Studies show that early access to palliative care for seriously ill patients improves their quality of life.
  • Funding palliative care is critical to providing these services to all who need them.

What is the AMITA Health perspective?

  • AMITA Health believes in holistic, compassionate, and palliative care. Compassionate care to all persons, especially to those who face serious illness, are in pain or are dying, has been a hallmark of Catholic health care. In fact, Pope Benedict XVI specifically called out palliative care as a human right in 2007. We believe all persons living with or affected by chronic or life-threatening medical conditions should receive compassionate, holistic, coordinated care that includes relief of pain, suffering and other symptoms from the time of diagnosis to natural death.
  • AMITA Health believes in protecting the dignity of every human life. We affirm that the task of medicine is to care even when it cannot cure. We believe that human life is a sacred gift that no one may dispose of at will. All persons, regardless of their medical condition, possess inherent dignity and are worthy of respect, protection, and care. We are committed to promoting and defending the dignity of human life wherever it is under threat.
  • We are called to be a voice for the voiceless. Our faith-based traditions call us to advocate for those who do not have a voice. We believe in patient non-abandonment and an explicit commitment to accompany others in the midst of their suffering, especially when they are tempted to see their own lives as diminished in value or meaning.

External Resources

Information from third-party organizations that can be resources for you to continue to learn about the issues at hand.

Palliative Care at a Glance

One page primer on palliative care

View Resource

CHA Supports Palliative Care

2018 CHA Letter on Palliative Care

View Resource

Featured News

Featured news includes articles from multiple viewpoints and is designed to keep you abreast of the current debate around this issue. This information should not be construed as our point of view.

View More

Congress: Support access to palliative care for aging Americans

The 21st century has brought remarkable advances in health care services, research and biopharmaceutical innovation. This has resulted in many Americans living longer with, and ...

The Hill + July 23, 2018 + View Article

House Passes Bipartisan Hospice Bill Strengthening Physician Training, Patient Outreach

Lawmakers may not agree on much these days, but they at least appear to agree when it comes to fostering end-of-life care for terminally ill ...

Home Health Care News + July 23, 2018 + View Article