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Pioneers in Rural Palliative Care

Since 2008, Stratis Health has pioneered processes for establishing and supporting palliative care services in smaller, rural communities. Recognizing that existing best practices were designed for large hospitals, Stratis Health has addressed this gap by working with more than 40 rural communities across the country to build capacity to offer palliative care services.

To increase access to palliative care services in rural areas, Stratis Health leads efforts to:

  • Support development of palliative care models that work in rural communities
  • Test measures to assess how rural palliative care delivers value
  • Assist rural communities to build their capacity to offer palliative care services
  • Establish a Rural Palliative Care Resource Center with tools and resources tailored for rural community teams

Building community-based palliative care

Stratis Health assists communities with program development and in building skills to improve advance care planning, symptom management, communication, coordination, and delivery of care to improve the quality of life and care for those with chronic diseases or life-limiting illness. Community-based teams identify their goals and resources, and then develop plans for implementation with a focus on current strengths and resources.

Key findings related to developing, implementing and sustaining a rural, community-based palliative care program

Based on our experiences in rural palliative care, Stratis Health has found that:

  • Rural communities can provide palliative care services effectively and the models for service delivery can and do vary widely. Most of the programs participants developed are based out of home care organizations or are led by a nurse or nurse practitioner based in a clinic or hospital.
  • For most rural communities, external resources and support are necessary to support community development of palliative care services.
  • Ongoing networking for learning and sharing is critical to program sustainability and continuing progress.
  • Defining community-based metrics is essential to quantify the impact on cost, quality, readmissions, and patient and family satisfaction.
  • More widespread third party reimbursement for palliative care services, including visits by RNs, social workers, and chaplains, would make a significant contribution to the sustainability of programs in rural communities.
  • Development of palliative care programs and services must align with other efforts to redesign care delivery to maximize value and efficiency for rural providers.

More on our initiatives

New Stratis Health Project to Advance Palliative Care in Rural Communities. Project will expand access to services in three states and identify how to leverage alternative payment models and technology to foster rural palliative care. (November 2017)

Stratis Health Rural Palliative Care Impact Report, July 2016 (28-page PDF)

Palliative Care Fact Sheet. An overview of Stratis Health’s work. (2-page PDF)

Minnesota Rural Palliative Care Initiative: Building Palliative Care Capacity in Rural Minnesota, Journal of Palliative Medicine, February 2013, article abstract.

Palliative Care in Rural Minnesota: Findings from Stratis Health's Minnesota Rural Palliative Care Initiative, Minnesota Medicine, January/February 2016.

Quality Measures for Community-Based, Rural Palliative Care Programs in Minnesota: A Pilot Study. A standard set of quality measures were field tested and evaluated for use in rural community-based palliative care programs. Journal of Palliative Medicine, June 2015, article abstract.

Rural palliative care resource center


Contact Stratis Health for assistance with community-based palliative care. Let's discuss how we can work together to support new initiatives.

Janelle Shearer, 952-853-8553

Karla Weng, 952-853-8570