Brook Calton

Brook Calton

Physician
University of California, San Francisco

Palliative Care Everywhere: Promoting the Growth and Impact of Home-Based Palliative Care

The need for palliative care, and home-based palliative care in particular, is increasing as our population ages and experiences illness burden associated with multiple chronic co-morbidities and functional impairments. At the same time, medical technologies that can prolong the lives of patients with serious illness continue to develop at an unprecedented rate. Because of the paucity of palliative care providers and palliative care service gaps outside of the hospital, it is challenging to meet the needs of the most complex, and often homebound, patients. This project takes a multi-faceted approach to support the growth and impact of home-based palliative care through three interconnected, cutting-edge demonstration projects. These projects focus on expansion of a novel payer-provider partnership to provide home-based palliative care, integration of telemedicine technology into home-based palliative care services, and equipping home-based providers with primary palliative care skills.

“As a fellow in hospice and palliative medicine at UCSF, I learned to provide palliative care in the hospital, inpatient hospice, clinic, and at home. My most memorable and rewarding experiences were following patients longitudinally across settings, relishing the unique opportunity to see them in clinic, the hospital, and at home. There was something particularly powerful about treating patients in their homes, understanding how they live, seeing photos of them from years past, and making critical medical decisions outside of the sterility of the hospital or clinic space. This is medicine, I thought (and continue to think!). My goal is to become a nationally-recognized leader in home-based palliative care delivery and education. I intend to use the programs I develop to provide the highest quality care to patients and their families, serve as a model for national palliative care programming, and function as a platform for training the next wave of practitioners. I am committed to helping create a system that, over the next 10 years, enables every patient who would benefit from palliative care to access it outside of the hospital walls, whether it be through the honed palliative care skills of their primary care doctor or specialty provider, a telephonic or telemedicine consult, or a robust outpatient specialty clinic or home-based program.”