Allina Health research shows what's important changes during late life

For more information, contact: Gloria O'Connell,

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. 3/28/2017  Palliative care physician Eric Anderson, MD, says the LifeCourse program asks patients “what matters most” and helps them chart and experience a care journey that respects their goals. Anderson and co-researcher Sandra Schellinger, NP-C, performed an in-depth analysis of advanced heart failure patient’s goals several years prior to death. 

Their findings will be presented Monday, April 3, during What is Important? Eliciting Deep Insights from Patients and Families: A Workshop for Opening Doors to Important Conversations at the Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care 2017 Annual Conference April 2 to 4 in Minneapolis.

“These results highlight the tendency of both patients and health care providers to wait too long for discussions about serious illness,” said Schellinger. “Knowing the social, emotional, and spiritual priorities of patients will equip clinicians to better discuss serious illness care in a way that addresses the most important priorities in their patients’ lives.”

Allina Health researchers will give three presentations at the conference based on the LifeCourse Research Study funded by the Robina Foundation and conducted at Allina Health. Other presentations are:

Collaborating to Increase Access to LifeCourse, a Late Life Supportive Care Approach, by Vivian Anugwom, MS, CHES, and Paul Erickson, MD, will be presented on Monday, April 3. They will describe lessons learned when LifeCourse expanded outside the mainstream healthcare system to address late life care disparities in an underserved community. Erickson is the medical director at NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center in North Minneapolis.

LifeCourse: An Innovative Approach to Late Life Care, by Anderson, and Karl Fernstrom, MPH, compares LifeCourse and “usual care” patients' utilization, quality of life and experience on Tuesday, April 4. Among their findings are fewer emergency room visits, fewer days in intensive care, and more days of palliative and hospice care.

About LifeCourse
LifeCourse, built on the tenets of palliative care, provides supportive care during the time between advanced illness diagnosis and end of life. At its core is a lay healthcare worker who visits patients monthly in their homes, communicates across care settings and organizations, and works with primary and specialty care teams and social service partners.

About Allina Health

Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares for patients from beginning to end-of-life through its 90+ clinics, 11 hospitals, 15 retail pharmacies, specialty care centers and specialty medical services, home care, and emergency medical transportation services.