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Charleston Business

MUSC Gets Grant For Palliative Care Program

Jul 12, 2018 04:02PM ● By Kathleen Maris

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) palliative care program has received a $1,278,000 grant from The Duke Endowment to create a statewide, palliative care telehealth program.

Providing end-of-life and comfort care to those in need, especially for the state’s most vulnerable and rural populations, is the primary aim of the new effort. Program leadership expects not only an improvement to accessibility for this kind of care, but also potential cost savings to individual patients and the system as a whole.

“We have always been focused on improving the quality of life of for patients and their families when facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness,” said Lauren Seidenschmidt, MUSC Health palliative care program manager. “With help from The Duke Endowment, and as a leader in palliative care and telehealth, we are incredibly excited to increase access to these services. The need is great in our state, and we are so pleased to be able to do even more to meet it.”

Access to palliative care remains inconsistent throughout the U.S., including South Carolina. In May 2018, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed a bill into law to evaluate the state’s health care resources for seriously and terminally ill patients and established the state’s first Palliative Care and Quality of Life Study Committee. The state seeks to better understand the need for palliative care services, and as the numbers of those aging or dealing with life-threatening illness rapidly increase, innovative and cost-saving solutions are needed now more than ever.

“Palliative care programs have demonstrated the ability to support patients with serious illness by improving pain and symptom management, reducing anxiety and depression, and increasing patient and family satisfaction,” said Lin Hollowell, director of health care for The Duke Endowment. “By bringing an intentional focus on holistically meeting the needs of patients facing serious, life-threatening illnesses, this effort will improve care for people across South Carolina.”