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Rural Palliative Care 

Rural Palliative Care
Rural Palliative Care

Richard A. Taylor

, J. Nicholas Dionne-Odom

, Erin R. Currie

, Macy Stockdill

, and Marie A. Bakitas

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date: 07 July 2020

Access to palliative care remains challenging to those living in rural areas across the globe. This disparity of care leaves many without critically important palliative care services across their illness trajectory, especially in its final stages. Creative strategies to meet the palliative care needs of rural patients such as telehealth, videoconferencing specialists’ consultation, and web-based resources exist. Using these strategies where available can address some palliative care disparities and access to care in rural areas that were previously absent. Developing clinical capacity of rural clinicians through enhanced education in primary palliative care in training programs, expanding services with the use of nurse practitioners, and using palliative care–trained community lay health workers are also strategies to improve access. Additionally, by developing rural hospital providers’ knowledge and skills to provide primary palliative care in tasks such as establishing care goals, communication, and basic symptom control may prevent many transfers to academic centers miles away. Through ongoing education and primary palliative care training and innovations in bringing specialty care to rural areas, “palliative care everywhere” will soon be a reality.

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