Author Affiliation

Department of Social Work, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Document Type

Policy Advocacy Brief

Publication Date


Issue Statement/Executive Summary

Minnesota has done well with the amount of palliative care services provided across the state. However, rural communities in Minnesota have far less access to palliative care programs than those living in urban settings. This is in part due to the lack of availability of health care professionals in rural communities, and the lower reimbursement rates provided for palliative care programs in rural settings. Although the majority of large hospitals in Minnesota offer palliative care programs, most hospitals with fifty beds or less do not. Palliative care has been shown to improve the quality of life of individuals living with chronic and terminal illnesses. Palliative care is also less expensive than curative care for patients with chronic or terminal illnesses, and in some cases patients utilizing palliative care live longer than those continuing with curative treatments. In 2017, the Minnesota legislature created a Palliative Care Advisory Council to advocate for more quality palliative care in Minnesota. However, more needs to be done to ensure access to quality palliative care in rural areas.

  • Increased funding for palliative care research and rural palliative care programs.
  • Enhanced education for health care professionals on palliative care and end of life issues.
  • Improved skill of health care professionals with discussing palliative care options and end of life issues.
  • Better public education on palliative care and its benefits.


Social Work



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