A Palliative Care Program Evaluation
Palliative care is a growing field in response to the healthcare needs of people suffering with the consequences of serious health issues. As an evolving specialty, palliative care needed criteria to denote and measure quality. National leading specialist in palliative care have developed and promoted standards for care and excellence in this field, however, it is critical for palliative care programs to evaluate the manner and extent to which these standards are incorporated into their care. A program evaluation of an existing Palliative Care Program at a VA hospital was undertaken. National guidelines and standards, that specify preferred structures and practices for quality palliative care, were compared to the VA Hospital’s Palliative Care Program implementation and operationalization. The program demonstrated and met most of the attributes and characteristics identified as essential markers of a quality palliative care program. Strengths of the program and opportunities for growth and development were discussed as well as implications for future programs including the role of the advanced practice nurse in this important specialty.