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University of Colorado College of Nursing

College of Nursing

Care for the Elderly in the Home Environment

Alumnus is setting the standard for palliative care

​Sean M. Reed PhD, APN, ACNS-BC, ACHPN is at the forefront of a major shift in health care. Armed with a master’s degree and a post-master’s certification as a Clinical Nurse Specialist, Dr. Reed was recruited by Centura Health to start palliative care programs at two metro area hospitals. Using his skill set and education, Dr. Reed promoted an advanced practice nurse-led interdisciplinary program aimed to support patients and families contending with serious illnesses. The outcomes of this program lead Dr. Reed to continue his journey of education towards a PhD and become Centura Health’s director for palliative care.

Palliative care is in a transition in this country. “Because these are consultative based services, a physician refers to palliative care for additional support for the patient and family while they travel through their journey,” Reed says. “However, palliative care is often called in too late in the patient’s trajectory. When we are called in earlier, the patient’s wishes and goals are well established and there is evidence in the literature that palliative care contributes to both longevity and higher quality of life. This is why it’s important to have palliative care at the beginning of a diagnosis, as part of the overall treatment plan to enhance the patient’s outcome. Centura Health will have up to 19 palliative care programs by the end of this fiscal year. These include acute care and community based programs as well as consult services in clinics for patients in oncology, neurology, trauma, and cardiology. Our advanced practice nurse-driven program has demonstrated incredible outcomes including cost savings, reduction in 30-day readmissions to the acute care setting, and changes in the delivery of health care throughout Centura Health."

And, Dr. Reed finds teaching at CU’s College of Nursing is compatible with the paradigm shift to a focus on care in the home environment. The adjoint assistant professor believes, “As health care reform rolls out, we will see a shift from acute care institutions into homes and the community, especially with our geriatric population, enabling them to age in place. As health care evolves into population based models of well-care, advanced practice nurses will be key to the success of this new paradigm.”