Pallitus Health Partners, part of Hosparus Health, has launched a Lung Care Program designed to offer specialized palliative care to individuals with advanced lung diseases. In 2020, the not-for-profit organization saw an increase of 40 percent in the number of patients with chronic lung conditions who needed its supportive services. With the launch of Pallitus Health’s disease-specific program, patients can now access care sooner in the trajectory of their illness, thereby increasing their length of stay and extending their life expectancy.

Palliative care can be provided at any time during a serious or chronic illness and in conjunction with other treatments. As the aging population continues to grow, the need community-based palliative care has increased significantly. In response to heightened demand, Hosparus Health established Pallitus Health Partners earlier this year to set its palliative services apart from hospice care.

According to the American Lung Association, more than 720,000 adults in Kentucky and 950,000 in Indiana suffer from chronic lung diseases, resulting in thousands of trips to the emergency room each year. Pallitus Health’s team of physicians, nurse practitioners and social workers offer expert management of the symptoms of advanced lung disease, reducing the need for ER visits and hospitalizations.  

Lung Care services include:

  • Symptom management toolkit that includes: a symptom tracker, action plan tool, medication organizer and Lung Care education guide 
  • Medications to help shortness of breath, customized to individual symptom needs 
  • 24-hour access by phone to expert clinical staff 
  • Ongoing patient and caregiver education about advanced lung disease

Patients eligible for Pallitus Health’s Lung Care Program may have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension and other chronic lung conditions. Care is customized to fit each patient’s needs and goals and delivered in consultation with their regular doctors wherever they call home, including private residences, nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The program is led by Stephanie Alvey Banks, RN, BSN, Clinical Program Development Specialist, and Dustin Dillon, M.D., Senior Physician of Palliative Care. Services are available to patients and families in 41 counties in Kentucky and Indiana.

The Lung Care Program is the second disease-specific program to be offered under the Pallitus Health Partners brand. The Heart Connection program, established in 2018, focuses on advanced cardiac disease, offering tools to better manage the symptoms and delay disease progression. It is designed to close the gap between high cardiac disease prevalence in the community and low utilization of hospice and palliative care. The Heart Connection program has a 1-percent, cardiac-related readmission rate compared to the national average of 21 percent. Enrolled patients are living nearly three months longer than those who are not enrolled. In 2020, the program served 533 patients with advanced heart disease.

“The success of our Heart Connection inspired us to explore how we could better serve patients living with other debilitating chronic illnesses that are associated with a high symptom burden, such as lung disease,” says Banks. “Pallitus Health Partner’s specialized, home-based model helps eliminate a major barrier to care and decreases the need for unnecessary hospitalizations, saving a substantial amount of healthcare dollars. Our new Lung Care program is expected to significantly increase patients’ length of stay in our care and improve their quality of life — allowing them to focus on creating memories with the people who mean the most.”