Home Palliative Care Can Improve Quality of Life for Heart Failure Patients, Study Reveals

McKnight’s Home Care | By Adam Healy
Not only does home-based palliative care improve heart failure patients’ quality of life, it can do so immediately, according to new research in BMC Palliative Care.
To conduct the study, researchers surveyed 100 patients with heart failure aged 65 years and older using questionnaires to record their demographic information and determine their quality of life. Quality of life was measured by patients’ responses to questions regarding their health, socioeconomic, psychological and family satisfaction, according to the study.
These patients received palliative care in three types of settings: primary, specialty and home-based palliative care. Primary palliative care was found to be the least effective in improving patients’ quality of life. Specialty palliative care was better, particularly in improving peoples’ socioeconomic satisfaction, according to survey findings. The most effective form was home-based palliative care, which led to the greatest observed quality of life improvements in the shortest amount of time.
This is due in part to the holistic approach home-based palliative caregivers were able to take with patients. Palliative care in the home “takes more comprehensive care of the person, taking into consideration symptoms and signs related to accompanying co-morbidities, such as stroke, renal dysfunction, pulmonary disorders, anemia, and even cancer,” according to the study.
In addition to improving quality of life, palliative care lessened patients’ future symptoms of heart failure and reduced hospital admissions, the study found. 
Other recent research has explored the effectiveness of in-home palliative care services. A 2022 study found that palliative care performed in the home reduces patients’ risk of dying in the hospital, while other research showed that home-based palliative care may be able to help patients live longer.
In June, senators introduced the Expanding Access to Palliative Care Act, which seeks to create a demonstration program providing Medicare coverage for community-based palliative care services.