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Weaving Palliative Care into Primary Care: A Guide for Community Health Centers

Monique Parrish, Anne Kinderman, and Michael Rabow

Primary care providers in community health clinics are optimally positioned to address the initial palliative care needs of patients with serious chronic and terminal illnesses, and to address triage and referral to specialists.

A close-up of a pile of colorful balls of yarn.

Primary care providers have a crucial role to play in facilitating early palliative care interventions and consults for their patients with serious chronic and terminal illness. They can also support these patients later in the disease process by identifying community resources and referring patients to palliative care specialists.

In community health centers — and other primary care practices — patients look first to their primary care doctors and health center staff for help with symptoms and concerns. This guide provides an introduction to primary palliative care and a detailed description of the steps required to plan, build, and integrate a primary palliative care program into a clinic setting.

It also provides planning tools and worksheets to help community health centers get started. Multiple appendices include primary palliative care resources from a wide variety of organizations and experts.

The complete report is available as a Document Download.