Characteristics of High-Quality Community-Based Palliative Care
Characteristics of High-Quality Community-Based Palliative Care

Characteristics of High-Quality Community-Based Palliative Care

“Community-based palliative care (CBPC) is an emerging field that seeks to integrate palliative and serious illness care with local health care systems. This resource center houses materials designed to assist organizations when planning, implementing or enhancing their CBPC services,” defined by the California Health Care Foundation. CBPC is well-positioned to be the bridge across the continuum of care settings as we move toward a patient-centric healthcare system. There is strong evidence proving community-based palliative care can significantly impact the quality of life, resulting in more compassionate, affordable, and sustainable high-quality care, including improving hospice use.

The Hospice & Home Care Webinar Network collaborated with Kathy Ahearn to create a webinar showing the benefits of a CBPC program and considerations for starting one: Community Based Palliative Care: How to Integrate Your Program into the Community webinar is available on-demand. Below are the characteristics and goals of a high-quality CBPC program.


  • Consistent Across Transitions. Services are consistent across transitions as priorities, disease progression, and locations change. Services cannot change if the person has a need. You must be able to provide it.
  • Broadly Accessible. Services are available for people regardless of where they live and receive health care. Consistency is key.
  • Prognosis Independent. Services are provided based on need and are independent of prognosis, diagnosis, or disease stage. You cannot say “they are too sick for this now” or “they are not sick enough.” If there is a need, you must provide it.
  • Collaborative & Coordinated. Services are delivered by an interdisciplinary team that provides regular assessment and care planning over time, in collaboration with all other providers. Collaboration and coordination are critical!


  • The goal of community-based programs is to allow people to remain in their homes if they desire however, this is not always possible, but it is the main goal. Remember it is wherever they call home.
  • People within Palliative Care are at higher risk of frequent transitions from one care setting to another. CBPC can make these transitions smoother by providing a social worker to assist.
  • Acute events may lead to emergency department or hospital visits or specialist outpatient care outside of the primary community-based program. High-functioning CBPC programs allow for these events.
  • A high-quality program coordinates and communicates with primary and specialty care to reinforce and enhance care across transitions.

Take a deep dive into community-based palliative care to see if your hospice agency and community could benefit. You can learn more and register for the on-demand webinar here.