Partners HealthCare at Home and their affiliated organization the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network recently received a grant to implement a program to train a core group of clinicians in Advanced Illness and Injury Management (AI/IM) and Palliative Care. This $250K grant will make resources and training available to staff so they are able to provide better symptom management and facilitate difficult discussions about prognosis, goals of care, and likely outcomes. The outcome of this improved care should lead to higher patient and caregiver satisfaction, improved staff satisfaction, and lower health care costs.
This project is funded by a Health Care Workforce Transformation Fund grant through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. The grant program is administered by Commonwealth Corporation.
Patients at the end of life are most often cared for in Home Care, Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) and Long Term Acute Care Facilities (LTACs), and many receive advanced illness management (AIM) including palliative care. Patients with serious injuries (brain injury, burns, amputations, spinal cord injury, etc.) mostly receive their care in home care settings and in Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRF) such as the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network. However, because they are not “end of life” these patients often are not considered for advanced illness management care. Nonetheless, it has been found that individuals with life-altering injuries face similar issues to individuals with life-limiting conditions. These issues include long-term symptom management, goal setting, and difficult treatment choices.
Unlike traditional end-of-life illness care such as palliative care which typically is limited to symptom management, Advanced Illness/Injury Management (AI/IM) services can be appropriate for individuals who have had a life-altering injury or illness but who are not at end of life. Because these individuals may face a long life with significant physical challenges, they may need to make decisions about goals of care and desired outcomes. The scope of issues in both patient populations is very similar but the impact of life-altering injury has rarely been addressed in AIM programs.
With this funding from the Commonwealth Corporation, the goal of this program is to make resources and training available to Partners HealthCare at Home and Spaulding Rehabilitation Network staff. The AI/IM Program will increase expertise in AI/IM and palliative care across the entire Partners HealthCare at Home and Spaulding Rehabilitation Network through a web-based curriculum. The project will train doctors and nurse practitioners to serve as clinical AI/IM experts at each site. During the second year of the project, unit-specific teams at each institution will be created to further expand AI/IM services. The AI/IM Program will be a replicable model for use by any Massachusetts health care institution, and may even create a model that can be replicated nationally.
“This funding will help us to fill a gap in current AIM services, and we will be able to better prepare clinicians to both discuss and provide advanced illness and injury services,” said Rey Spadoni, President, Partners HealthCare at Home.
Commonwealth Corporation awarded more than $12 million in Health Care Workforce Transformation Fund Training Grants on behalf of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. According to Karen Shack, Senior Program Manager at Commonwealth Corporation, “Each of the organizations across the state receiving these grants, such as the one awarded to Partners HealthCare at Home, will use grant funds to help strengthen the health care workforce and work toward improving patient service and reducing health care costs.”
Partners HealthCare at Home was among 55 organizations to receive a grant under this state-level initiative. Grants were awarded to programs that were recognized as addressing identified health care workforce needs following passage of Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012 health care legislation. The goal of the grant program is to help organizations focus on unmet needs in the Commonwealth.
About the Commonwealth Corporation
Commonwealth Corporation strengthens the skills of Massachusetts youth and adults by investing in innovative partnerships with industry, education and workforce organizations. We seek to meet the immediate and emerging needs of businesses and workers so they can thrive in our dynamic economy. The Health Care Workforce Transformation Fund was established as part of Massachusetts' health care cost containment law, Chapter 224. This fund supports a wide spectrum of employee training and other programs within the health care industry.