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Overview of the Indiana Palliative Care and Quality of Life Advisory Council’s Work

Thursday, August 15, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: LeadingAge Indiana
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Overview of the Indiana Palliative Care and Quality of Life Advisory Council’s Work

Megan Agnew, MPH
Indiana State Department of Health

The Indiana Palliative Care and Quality of Life Advisory Council was established in 2016 by the Indiana General Assembly through Indiana Code (IC) 16-19-17 (P.L. 43 - 2016) to educate, advocate and make policy recommendations to improve palliative care in Indiana.

The council began its first year of work in 2017 by assessing the landscape of palliative care in Indiana, comparable state advisory councils across the country, barriers to care and patient quality of life, needs of the palliative care profession, and available resources and data. The council ultimately determined three focus areas merited attention to better serve the needs of Hoosiers: pain medication and management, advance care planning, and access to palliative care.

In 2018, the council developed workgroups to prioritize efforts in the focus areas. The council then reconvened to discuss which recommendations should be put forward as formal recommendations.

The council’s final recommendations are to:

1.     Define palliative care in state legislation. Palliative care should have a formal definition modified to the healthcare setting and implement legislative action for the definition to be housed in Title 16, IC 16-18;

2.     Revise the Indiana living will statute to permit use of new advance directive tools and approaches;

3.     Develop solid criteria for defining the palliative care population and consider opiate prescribing exceptions (greater than seven day opiate prescribing) for the defined palliative care patient population; and

4.     Provide sufficient and streamlined methods of pain medication disposal to those who give palliative care.

During 2019, IPCQLAC focused its efforts on finalizing the work of the council and dissemination of its findings. The American Cancer Society hosted a forum on April 30, 2019, to disseminate the council’s final recommendations, and it also provided stakeholders an opportunity to give feedback. Stakeholders were excited about the council’s recommendations and supported implementing the ideas to improve palliative care. The council did sunset on June 30, 2019. Generally, stakeholders agreed that there is value in having a targeted focus on improving palliative care in Indiana through education, advocacy and policy change, so hopefully structured efforts will continue.

Please visit for more in-depth information about the council’s work.

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