As the American population ages and rates of chronic and serious conditions rise, the study and application of palliative care is becoming a more frequent component of a patient’s care strategy.

Palliative care is an extra layer of support delivered by an interdisciplinary team, which focuses on relieving symptoms and improving quality of life for patients with a serious or chronic illness and their families. That interdisciplinary team can include doctors, nurses, registered dieticians, pharmacists and social workers.

Palliative care for cancer patients, for example, can begin at diagnosis and continue through treatment, follow-up care and end-of-life, with the goal to prevent or treat the symptoms or side effects of the disease, and in some cases, the treatment regimen as well. A palliative care team will seek to address the related psychological, social and spiritual problems associated with chronic and serious conditions.

Knowledge Matched with Care

The California State University Institute for Palliative Care is preparing the next generation of palliative care practitioners, educators, advocates and leaders while also educating the community about its benefits in increasing longevity, improving patient and family satisfaction with care and reducing health care costs.

In its fourth year, the Institute has grown to include 28 online programs, educating more than 2,000 current health care professionals. The institute integrated palliative care into more than 30 courses at its home base of Cal State San Marcos. The institute has also expanded its reach and now has centers at a total of seven CSU campuses across California.

Working as a Team

The Institute provides opportunities for students and faculty to undertake research and community engagement projects as well as present their data to fellow healthcare leaders and industry experts. This includes:

  • Professors at Cal State San Marcos are integrating palliative care curriculum pioneered at the Institute in order to provide students – and future health care professionals – with the tools and resources in order to provide a more holistic approach toward treating patients with serious and chronic conditions.
  • The Institute is committed to community engagement and continuing education – developing and ensuring access to valuable information, online resources and community events for patients, their families and caregivers as they carefully navigate the increasingly complex landscape of palliative care.