Providing Better Palliative Care

Providing Better Palliative Care

Keeping patients at the center of their care means guiding their health journey from start to finish. By providing compassionate and thoughtful end-of-life care, healthcare professionals can ensure that a patient’s story ends comfortably and meets their final wishes.

AdventHealth Waterman recognized an opportunity to improve quality of care for patients who are approaching end of life by offering palliative care services both inside and outside the hospital setting. The organization implemented a program with goals focused on end-of-life care education for nurses, providers, rehabilitation facilities and community partners.

Increased Focus on Palliative Care Program

To get started, the organization formed a multidisciplinary committee including medical staff, nursing units, health information management department members, registration department members and clinical informatics professionals. This team collaborated to review, evaluate and improve processes related to palliative and hospice care. In addition, the intensive care unit (ICU) nursing team developed a grassroots initiative called The Butterfly Project, which focused on providing compassionate end-of-life care to patients and their families by creating a home-like environment at the bedside.

Watch Silvia Perez-Protto, MD, MS, medical director of End of Life Center at the Cleveland Clinic, talk with HIMSSTV about bringing empathy to end of life care.

A major focus of AdventHealth Waterman’s palliative care program was not only providing the most compassionate care, but also identifying at-need patients earlier to ensure that care occurs when it is needed. Using predictive analytics tools, the staff closely monitored data and performed chart reviews to get more insights into a variety of patient cases. After reviewing multiple cases and patient scenarios, they were able to identify patients who would benefit from early recognition and support from end-of-life care services.

Testimonial: A patient we’ll call Jane was admitted to the hospital and intubated, and after much discussion, the family knew they had to withdraw life support. 

Jane's niece remembers walking into her Aunt Jane’s hospital room. The lighting was so beautiful—low and appropriate—and all the linens were turned down perfectly. Jane was sitting up, and she looked more engaged. The atmosphere in the room didn’t change what was going on with Jane metaphysically, but everything about it felt respected and revered. The hospital staff had wrapped Jane in a beautiful shawl of many colors, and it reminded her niece of her aunt’s fun and beautiful personality.

Because of The Butterfly Program, Jane's niece doesn’t think of her Aunt Jane when she was ill; she remembers her with her coat of colors and the respect that the hospital gave to her during her last moments.

As a result, patients and their families were better served by AdventHealth Waterman’s improved approach to providing end-of-life services. Additionally, these efforts spurred strengthened collaboration between hospitalists, intensivists and providers as they focused together on a common goal: improve continuity of care in the outpatient and inpatient setting in order to provide the best palliative care services possible.

By increasing early identification of appropriate palliative care and hospice patients, AdventHealth Waterman improved their utilization of ICU resources. The organization was able to leverage technology and data to improve patient safety and deliver compassionate, high-quality, end-of-life care—fulfilling their mission of delivering whole-person care to every patient, every time.

HIMSS Analytics Stage 7 Validation


HIMSS is pleased to recognize AdventHealth Waterman for their Stage 7 HIMSS Analytics Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM) validation.

“AdventHealth Waterman’s commitment to excellence is best seen in their use of technology to improve the referral to palliative care, as well as the quality of care once patients were referred,” said Philip Bradley, regional director, North America, HIMSS Analytics.

“I am proud of our team for their efforts to implement technology in innovative ways to allow us to provide safer and more efficient care to each patient,” said Abel Biri, president and CEO, AdventHealth Waterman. “Earning the HIMSS Analytics Stage 7 validation is a remarkable achievement by only a fraction of hospitals across the country. This accomplishment further demonstrates the quality and the collaboration between our physicians and staff to improve patient care.”

Discover how other Stage 7 organizations are innovating for improvement—read more Stage 7 success stories:
Streamlining Transitional Care Management Workflows
How Maintaining Patient Focus Improves Outcomes
How Telemedicine Is Improving Care Coordination