California Hospital-Based Palliative Care Survey

Brief Description
Numerous providers in the health care system have the goal of promoting appropriate care toward the end of life. Achieving this goal includes supporting the development and sustainability of hospital-based palliative care programs and, to do this effectively, those in the field need to understand how many of these programs already exist, how they are structured and what they are doing. For planning how best to support the growth of high quality palliative care programs, they also need to understand the barriers to establishing such programs, how new programs can be implemented, and how to increase the quality of existing programs. National Health Foundation (NHF) and the University of California, San Francisco, Palliative Care Team (UCSF/PCT) have collaborated on the California Hospital-Based Palliative Care Survey in order to address these gaps in knowledge and to promote the adoption of palliative care programs. In summary, UCSF/PCT took responsibility for developing the survey instrument, and NHF facilitated this collaborative work, designed and launched the web-based survey, and conducted all data analysis.

Measured or Anticipated Outcomes
  • Extensive follow-up and productive relationships with the regional hospital associations led to a very high (92 percent) response rate and an 85.5 percent completion rate.
  • The full report titled “When Compassion is the Cure: The Case for Hospital-Based Palliative Care” can be found here:
  • Report highlights include:
    • Of the 325 responding hospitals, 43% reported having a palliative care program;
    • Ninety percent of existing palliative care programs have been launched since the year 2000; and
    • Eighty four percent of programs offer adult services only and 13% provide both adult and pediatric services.

Policy Implications
  • In order to improve the options for and quality of end of life care, it is critical to thoroughly understand the emergent care services now available. This report helps to clarify the characteristics and common themes of service provision for an inconsistently defined hospital-based program.
  • Furthermore, if entities plan to support the growth of high quality palliative care programs, this report identifies facilitators and barriers to establishing quality palliative care programs.

California HealthCare Foundation provided support for this project.

Key Partners
The Survey of Palliative Care in California Hospitals was developed by palliative care experts at the University of California, San Francisco, in partnership with an advisory committee.

Danielle Cameron
Director of National Development
Phone: (703) 999-9423
Email :