Background: Although limited, the descriptions of Community-Based Palliative Care (CBPC) demonstrates variability in team structures, eligibility, and standardization across care settings.
Objective: In 2014, Four Seasons Compassion for Life, a nonprofit hospice and palliative care (PC) organization in Western North Carolina (WNC), was awarded a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Health Care Innovation (CMMI) Award to expand upon their existing innovative model to implement, evaluate, and demonstrate CBPC in the United States. The objective of this article is to describe the processes and challenges of scaling and standardizing the CBPC model.
Design: Four Season’s CBPC model serves patients in both inpatient and outpatient settings using an interdisciplinary team to address symptom management, psychosocial/spiritual care, advance care planning, and patient/family education. Medicare beneficiaries who are ≥65 years of age with a life-limiting illness were eligible for the CMMI project.
Results: The CBPC model was scaled across numerous counties in WNC and Upstate South Carolina. Over the first two years of the project, scaling occurred into 21 counties with the addition of 2 large hospitals, 52 nursing facilities, and 2 new clinics. To improve efficiency and effectiveness, a PC screening referral guide and a risk stratification approach were developed and implemented. Care processes, including patient referral and initial visit, were mapped.
Conclusion: This article describes an interdisciplinary CBPC model in all care settings to individuals with life-limiting illness and offers guidance for risk stratification assessments and mapping care processes that may help PC programs as they develop and work to improve efficiencies.