NC’s Roadmap to Improving Serious Illness Care

Blog | January 31, 2020


Since caring for a seriously ill loved one is one of the biggest challenges we face, the North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM), in partnership with agencies and organizations that provide care and advocacy around issues of aging, palliative care, hospice care, and long-term supports and services, convened a Task Force on Serious Illness Care in 2019-20. The Task Force consisted of over 60 expert members, including health care providers, community members, advocacy representatives, and family caregivers. The Task Force on Serious Illness Care has developed a workable plan to improve the quality of living for individuals (and their caregivers) with serious illness. The final report of the Task Force will be issued this spring.


This NCIOM Task Force is supported by the Duke Endowment, with additional support from AARP North Carolina, the NC Health Care Facilities Association, the Association for Home & Hospice Care of North Carolina, and the Carolinas Center.


WATCH: NCIOM President and CEO Dr. Zolotor talks about this effort:


North Carolina is rapidly aging. By the year 2025, one-in-five North Carolinians will be age 65 or older. When it comes to our older population, improving the quality of serious illness care not only helps patients, family caregivers, and medical providers, it also helps payers control medical costs including the taxpayer dollars that can be used for other public priorities.

Here are a few facts from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHS):

  • North Carolina ranks 9th nationally, both in total population and in the number of people 65 and older.
  • Our 65 and older population will increase in the next 20 years from 1.6 to 2.6 million.
  • In the next two decades, the age group 75-84 will be the fastest growing segment and beyond 2030, the proportion of older adults 85 and over will increase as the baby boomer population moves into this age group.


AARP North Carolina volunteer President Dr. Catherine Sevier, who serves on the Task Force steering committee, explains, “Whether it is taking care of someone who is ill, or planning in advance for your needs as you age, it is important to reach consensus on an evidence-based road map for all who are involved in caring for the seriously ill that will lead to the best possible care.”


Previous NCIOM Task Force recommendations have been widely adopted by health care leaders, policymakers, and other stakeholders, resulting in new laws and/or regulations, and an improvement in practices that can lead to better health outcomes.


The recommendations of the Task Force on Serious Illness Care will focus on the following areas:


- Delivery of person-centered, family-oriented care (including palliative, hospice, and other types of care)


- Communication and advanced care planning


- Professional education and development- Policies and payment


- Public education and engagement


To learn more about the Task Force, click here.


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