COLUMBUS, Ohio–Dec. 6, 2018–The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) commends the Ohio legislature for passing legislation that will improve the quality of life for cancer patients and their families through palliative care.
Rep. Sarah LaTourette introduced legislation in June 2017 after her father died of cancer. Through her firsthand experience, Rep. LaTourette saw the benefits of a coordinated palliative care program.
The legislation creates the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Council and establishes the Palliative Care Consumer and Professional Information and Education Program. The Council's goal is to establish a system for identifying patients who could benefit from palliative care and to provide information about appropriate palliative care services.
“Currently many healthcare consumers do not know about palliative care and how it could benefit them,” said Jeff Stephens, Ohio government relations director for ACS CAN. “This bill will increase the demand for a system of care that has proven quality of life outcomes. American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network looks forward to Governor Kasich signing this legislation into law and to working with the council to improve quality of care for cancer patients in Ohio.”
Ninety six percent of Ohio’s large hospitals have palliative care programs. However, only 67 percent of Ohio hospitals that are the sole community provider and 29 percent of Ohio hospitals with fewer than 50 beds have palliative care programs.
“Treatment location impacts whether Ohioans receive palliative care,” said Stephens. “The passage of HB 286 will also build the supply and delivery of services to meet increased demand as patients become aware of the proven health outcomes of palliative care.”
The goal of palliative care is to improve quality of life for both the patient and their family. It is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work with the patient’s primary care physician and others to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment to help patients get well faster and easier.
Research indicates that palliative care increases health outcomes while reducing health care costs. Studies have shown coordinating patient care and treating pain and symptoms leads to increased patient and family satisfaction and decreases the time spent in intensive care units and the likelihood patients will be readmitted to hospitals.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.