Alameda Health System (AHS) announced today that more people suffering from chronic disease or terminal illness will be able to receive palliative care thanks to a $2 million grant from the Stupski Foundation. Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on providing patients relief from physical and mental stress caused by a serious or life-limiting illness. Funding from the three year grant will be used to expand palliative care to Alameda and San Leandro Hospitals.

AHS has provided inpatient palliative care services since 2009 and began providing outpatient palliative care services in 2014, primarily at its Highland Hospital. The outpatient palliative care clinic is currently open two half-days a week and is embedded in the oncology services for better continuity of care. Two-thirds of palliative care patients at Highland are oncology patients.

In addition to expanding services to other hospitals in the system, the grant will also sustain the service at Highland Hospital, plus educate clinicians about primary palliative care and advanced care planning.

“By expanding our serious illness care service, we aim to reduce suffering and improve the quality of life for our patients with serious illness. Expanding our services means we will be better able to guide thousands of patients through complex treatment choices while providing emotional, social and spiritual support,” said Dr. Claudia Landau Chief of Geriatrics at Highland Hospital.

With the grant funding, AHS will train and establish nurse-led interdisciplinary specialty palliative care teams at both hospitals. Although the emphasis of the plan will be on inpatient palliative care services, outpatient and home-based palliative care options will also be available.

Additionally, AHS will be able to expand advance care planning, coordinate with other community-based organizations to provide family caregiver support, and provide dedicated staff social work resources to identify and link patients and their families to social services.

The grant funds will be held at Alameda Health System Foundation, the 501(c)(3) fundraising arm of Alameda Health System (AHS), which will administer the grant on behalf of AHS. This grant follows prior grants, from California Health Care Foundation and Stupski Foundation, that enabled AHS to pilot and then sustain, respectively, an outpatient palliative care clinic at Highland Hospital.

Recognized as a world-class patient and family centered system of care that promotes wellness, eliminates disparities and optimizes the health of our diverse communities, AHS looks forward to the valuable work ahead that will help transform how people experience end of life care.