Newswise — End-of-life care for patients with advanced illness is not only emotionally taxing for all involved, but also costly. Conventional models admit patients to hospice or palliative care only if their life expectancy is within a six-month window. Often this occurs only after a series of aggressive and expensive ICU visits, at the end of which hospice is called for the final few days or hours of a patient's life.

But research by University Distinguished Professor of Marketing Leonard Berry of Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School suggests that there is a way to help to both ensure patients’ quality of life and minimize costs: options.

In an article published in the Harvard Business Review, “Giving Seriously Ill Patients More Choices About Their Care,” Berry and his coauthor envision a better model for advanced illness management that empowers patients to make choices early on, especially to choose to focus on improving the quality of their life, rather than prolonging it.

Berry explains that his model for advanced illness management contains many key components, including the ability to:

· Help patients clarify their care preferences and identify their priorities

· Assist patients in articulating these preferences to healthcare providers

·  Establish personal relationships among patients, family and staff

·  Ensure seamless communication across all clinical settings

·  Relieve pain and suffering

·  Provide support to families

Berry is a Regents Professor and holds the M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School. His research focuses on improving service in cancer care. His coauthor for the article was Brad Stuart, chief medical officer at the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care in Washington, D.C.

Berry may be reached at [email protected].


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