The CAPC analysis is based on the of the latest data released in the 2006 American Hospital Association (AHA) Annual Survey of Hospitals. It shows that 1240 hospitals nationwide provide palliative care programs today: This is compared to 632 programs in 2000 – a five-year increase of 96%.

"Ten years ago there were almost no hospital palliative care programs in the U.S. This continuous growth trend is very good news because if we are going to meet the needs of our aging population, every hospital must have a program." said Dr. Diane Meier, Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care.

Of the 4,103 hospitals appropriate for palliative care programs (psychiatric and rehab hospitals were excluded) one third have a program. 50% with over 75 beds have a program, 70% with over 250 beds have a program and 57% of hospitals with a cancer program approved by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) have a program. 75% of Council of Teaching Hospitals (COTH) members have a program and so do 46% of hospitals in cities with a population of 1 to 2.5 million.

Larger hospitals, academic medical centers, not-for-profit hospitals (including those affiliated with the Catholic Church) and VA hospitals are significantly more likely to develop palliative care programs as compared to for-profit hospitals.

By 2030, it is expected that the number of older Americans will have more than doubled to 70 million - or one in every five Americans. With the availability of advanced medical technologies this growing number of older adults will live longer, but often with serious chronic illnesses and ongoing pain and symptoms. Palliative medicine is widely viewed as a solution to this mounting problem.

MEDICA.de; Source: Mount Sinai School of Medicine