Crucial Legislation Would Improve Quality of Life for Cancer Patients in 2016

Bill Aims to Expand Palliative Care Access, Research, Training and Awareness

April 6, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. April 6, 2016 ŒæSen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced legislation last night that would reduce suffering and improve the quality of life of patients and their families by better coordinating their care and addressing the often debilitating symptoms of disease and treatment. The bill would put in place the building blocks necessary to make palliative care widely available to people with serious illnesses during and after treatment through training, research, access and public awareness. The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (S. 2748) supports the growing demand for palliative care, a specialized medical care that focuses on care coordination and relief from pain, stress and other symptoms of treatment for a life-threatening disease such as cancer. The legislation would facilitate and expand federal research into palliative care; support training for doctors, nurses and other allied health professionals to practice palliative care; and establish a national palliative care public education and awareness campaign. The bill acts on clinical research demonstrating that patients receiving palliative care spend fewer days in intensive care, have fewer hospital readmissions, and generally experience a better quality of life during treatment. ACS CAN applauds Sen. Baldwin for introducing this crucial piece of bipartisan legislation, which will help remove barriers to palliative care and give patients and survivors more control over their quality of life, said Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. By building awareness and providing the necessary resources to train medical professionals who work with seriously ill patients, we can help decrease patient suffering and improve treatment outcomes. Palliative care represents a big shift in health care delivery because it improves the quality of care for seriously ill patients often at lower costs. Palliative care is appropriate at any age and any stage of a serious illness, and can be provided alongside curative treatment. It is delivered by trained specialists who work together with doctors and nurses in a team-based approach that focuses on the patients' needs, explains treatment options and gives patients and their families a voice in determining their treatment and care. I 'm proud to lead the introduction of the äóÖPalliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act ' to help grow and sustain our healthcare workforce to safeguard and improve the quality of care for the growing number of patients with serious or life-threatening illnesses, Senator Baldwin said. This issue is especially personal to me, as I was raised by my maternal grandparents and later served as my grandmother 's primary caretaker as she grew older. I know firsthand the importance of ensuring that there are enough trained health care professionals to provide quality care across the country and to fulfill the needs and wishes of patients and their families. From the moment of diagnosis, palliative care gives people with illnesses like cancer and their families a voice in determining the overall goals of treatment, setting the specific course of care and managing symptoms. ŒæMillions of cancer patients suffer from pain, shortness of breath, nausea and other side effects from treatment with no idea that palliative care can relieve their symptoms and provide them with a better quality of life. The Senate bill compliments H.R. 3119, bipartisan legislation that was introduced last year by Reps. Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Tom Reed (R-NY). Both bills are supported by the Patient Quality of Life Coalition, an alliance of more than 30 organizations, including ACS CAN, dedicated to improving quality of care and quality of life for adults and children facing serious illnesses, survivors and their families.


FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Jill Courtney or Alissa Crispino American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Phone: (202) 585-3278 or (202) 661-5772 Email: [email protected] or [email protected] #palliativecare #pcheta #qualityoflife #congress

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