Goal 4

High-quality palliative care is available and accessible to all people living in Connecticut


  1. Promote and support a systematic approach to monitor, disseminate and utilize data trends to advocate for high-quality palliative care, including trends relevant to disparities
  2. Promote and support system changes that strengthen the quality of palliative care through partnerships with providers and community members from across the state


  • Support submission of data related to:
    • The number of Connecticut hospitals accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC) and/or certified in palliative care by the Joint Commission
    • Existing and developing quality indicators for palliative care programs
    • Utilization of palliative care by underserved populations, including children, the elderly, minorities, the uninsured and veterans
    • The number of healthcare professionals certified in palliative and hospice care, including race, ethnicity and languages spoken
  • Utilize data trends to advocate for policy and system changes that improve the provision of palliative care in all settings
  • Advocate for increased national funding, resources and research related to palliative care services
  • Support efforts of Connecticut stakeholders to develop collaborative initiatives that provide culturally appropriate palliative care education in all settings, including colleges, hospitals, out-patient settings, long-term care, pediatric care and veteran care
  • Align efforts to support activities of the Connecticut Palliative Care Advisory Council

Why This is Important

  • According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), palliative care is used to ease symptoms and side effects and manage any challenges patients experience before, during and after cancer treatment. (53) ASCO also notes “substantial evidence demonstrates that palliative care – when combined with standard cancer care as the main focus of care – leads to better patient and caregiver outcomes.” (54)
  • In addition, ASCO reports “earlier involvement of palliative care also leads to more appropriate referral to and use of hospice care and reduced use of futile intensive care.” Patients with invasive cancers who receive palliative care along with cancer treatments tend to enjoy better quality of life and live longer. (55)
  • Palliative care complements the national aim of the Affordable Care Act: to improve quality of care at the local, state and national levels, leading to better care and more affordable care. (56)
Prevalence of US Hospital Palliative care Teams 2000-2009 graph showing growth from 600 hospitals with care teams in 2000 to 1550 in 2009

Palliative Care is care that focuses on relieving symptoms caused by serious illnesses like cancer. It can be given throughout the cancer experience whenever the person is having symptoms that need to be controlled. This can be from the time of diagnosis until the end of life. It can be given along with curative treatment or when cancer treatment is no longer working. (63)


  • New CoC Standard, required by 2015: Standard 2.4 Palliative Care Services: Palliative care services are available to patients either on-site or by referral…. an essential part of cancer care, beginning at the time of diagnosis and being “continuously available” throughout treatment, surveillance and when applicable during bereavement. ….an interdisciplinary team of medical and mental health professionals, social workers and spiritual counselors provides palliative care services … (58)
  • According to the Center to Advance Palliative Care’s (CAPC) State-by-State Report Card on Access to Palliative Care in Our Nation’s Hospitals, 100 percent of Connecticut hospitals with over 300 beds (9/9) and 72 percent of all of Connecticut hospitals (18/25) had a palliative care team in 2012. Connecticut’s grade improved from “C” in 2008 to “B” in 2011. (59)
  • Launched in September 2011, The Joint Commission’s Advanced Certification Program for Palliative Care recognizes hospital inpatient programs that demonstrate exceptional patient and family-centered care and optimize the quality of life for patients (both adult and pediatric) with serious illness. (60)
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), in a 2012 consensus statement, agreed that “combined standard oncology care and palliative care should be considered early in the course of illness for any patient with metastatic cancer and/ or high symptom burden.” (61)
  • The Connecticut Palliative Care Advisory Councilwas established by the State Legislature in 2013 to analyze the current state of palliative care and advise the Department of Public Health on matters relating to the improvement of palliative care and the quality of life for persons with terminal illnesses. (62)