ST. PAUL, Minn. (January 12, 2017)—Sen. Karin Housley, R-Stillwater, today introduced a bill that would establish an advisory council on palliative care.
“The biggest challenges Minnesotans face with receiving palliative care are a lack of education about what it is and a shortage of trained providers,” Housley explained, “An advisory council would help us determine how to address those needs in rural communities, big cities, and everywhere in between.”
Palliative care is a specialty that provides an extra layer of support to relieve the pain, symptoms, and stress of serious illness, often over a long period of time. It is sometimes confused with hospice care, which is a subset of palliative care designed for patients at the end of life.
Coauthors of the bill are: Sen. Kent Eken, D-Twin Valley; Sen. Jerry Relph, R-St. Cloud; Sen. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka; and Sen. Carrie Ruud (R-Breezy Point).
The bill has been assigned to the Senate Aging and Long-Term Care Policy committee, of which Sen. Housley is the chair and on which all the bill authors serve. A similar bill is expected to be introduced in the House in the coming weeks.
“Anyone who has struggled with chronic illness or been a caregiver knows that medicine should be about more than prescriptions and hospital stays,” Housley said. “This legislation will bring palliative care closer to the patients who need it and help them live the best lives they can no matter where they are in their treatment.”
The bill also has the support of the newly formed Minnesota Palliative Care Coalition, a group of patient advocacy organizations, medical professional associations, provider networks, and others committed to improving palliative care in Minnesota.
More information about how palliative care works for patients can be found in a news release recently issued by American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, debunking common myths.