Advanced illness occurs when one or more conditions become serious enough that general health and functioning decline, curative treatment begins to lose its effect, and quality of life increasingly becomes the focus of care—a process that continues to the end of life. People with advanced illness need seamless, person-centered, and well-coordinated care that helps them live as independently and comfortably as possible. Unfortunately, the healthcare system, despite its strengths, is ill-equipped to provide this care. In the absence of improvements, these vulnerable patients are at higher risk for unnecessary hospitalizations, unwanted treatment, adverse drug reactions, and conflicting medical advice, resulting in terrible burdens on patients and families. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
A growing body of research, including PCORI-funded initiatives, is pointing the way toward better care for people with advanced illness. However, that research is not consistently getting into the hands of practitioners caring for this population.
C-TAC, through its nationwide network of relationships with patient and consumer groups, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders, is ideally positioned to bridge that gap and get evidence into the hands of those caring for patients. This project builds on C-TAC’s broad network of relationships with patient and consumer groups, healthcare providers, faith-based organizations, and other stakeholders who are committed to improving advanced illness care. In order to reach a wide and diverse audience, C-TAC will host a series of regional leadership forums in major cities around the country. These leadership forums will reach patient advocates, health system leaders, faith leaders, and other key influencers within the region who are working to improve care. These forums will introduce participants to PCORI-funded research on advanced illness, in order to expose a wide range of stakeholders to evidence-based models of advanced illness care.
C-TAC’s overarching goal for these forums is to push the US healthcare system to improve, so that all Americans with advanced illness, especially the sickest and most vulnerable, receive comprehensive, high-quality, person- and family-centered care that is consistent with their goals and values and honors their dignity. The forums are intended to put evidence-based, person-centered models of care for people with advanced illness right in the hands of stakeholder leaders, healthcare practitioners, and patient advocates who can see them implemented. The longer-term objective of this work is to improve patient access to these models of care across the country, and to raise the quality of care that individuals with advanced illness receive.
C-TAC is widely recognized as the leading organization for organizing stakeholders in the field of advanced illness. C-TAC’s reputation and network of relationships positions the organization as uniquely capable of disseminating evidence-based models of care to a wide and diverse audience. Through its membership and partner organizations, C-TAC has deep relationships with key influencers across the country, and is ideally positioned to organize well-attended and impactful regional forums. This award will empower C-TAC to leverage these relationships and activate new coalitions for improving advanced illness at the regional level.