Areas of Focus: A Catalyst for Expanding Access to Palliative Care
As California’s largest educator of health system professionals, the CSU is uniquely positioned to bring education on palliative care to California’s workforce.
The Institute is helping California develop a more qualified palliative care workforce by educating both current and future professionals in healthcare, nursing, social work, public health and other allied professions; teaching state-of-the-art approaches in palliative and interdisciplinary care. It does this by integrating palliative care into both undergraduate and graduate education for future professionals. It also accomplishes this by engaging local, regional and national experts from the CSU and from the palliative care community to bring the latest in best practices and educational offerings to professionals and the community.
Introducing students — the professionals of the future — to the value of palliative care is central to the Institute’s mission. Likewise, many professional caregivers see palliative care’s focus on relieving patient suffering and adding to their comfort as a return to the reason they chose their profession in the first place. This inspiration is an underpinning of the Institute’s outreach to the current community of health care professionals.
Increasing expertise in the provision of interdisciplinary care, team functioning, and team management is integral to the future of health care. Palliative care is at the forefront of team-based health care practice, and the Institute is providing opportunities for both current and future professionals to become experienced in interdisciplinary, team-based care.
Those with serious illness and their caregivers often misunderstand palliative care to mean only end-of-life or hospice care, which it is not. Hospice is the part of palliative care that focuses on end of life but palliative care is more. The CSU Institute is helping to raise public awareness of palliative care, so that many seriously or chronically ill patients and their families will recognize it as a means to alleviate their suffering, and enhance their quality of life.
Recent research by the national polling firm Public Opinion Strategies has shown that, once informed about palliative care, 92% of the American public are highly likely to consider palliative care for themselves or their families when they have serious illness. The CSU Institute will also be an important advocate for advance care planning which encourages families to discuss their medical wishes with one another before a serious illness strikes, and empowering them to dialogue with their health care providers about choices for treatment and care, including palliative care.