The balm of gilead project: A demonstration project on end-of-life care for safety-net populations

Academic Article


  • The Balm of Gilead is a comprehensive program of end-of-life care for the populations served by the "safety net" public health system in Alabama's largest county. The Balm of Gilead serves terminally ill persons, predominantly of minority ethnic status who as a group are relatively younger than the national hospice population, and typically lacking in personal financial resources. Care provided by the Balm of Gilead addresses the holistic needs associated with terminal illness in each of its stages and each of its treatment settings. Balm of Gilead professionals and volunteers provide continuity of care across a continuum that includes inpatient palliative care, home hospice services, and specialized palliative care in nursing homes and other community residential settings. Cooper Green Hospital and the Jefferson County Department of Health are principal partners in the program. Community partnerships with local foundations, colleges and universities, faith communities, civic groups, and professional groups complete the collaborative network of the Balm of Gilead Project. This report discusses work to date toward fulfilling the project's two primary objectives: (1) to build the infrastructure necessary to support a comprehensive palliative care program that is available to county residents regardless of their ability to pay and (2) to develop systems and services to foster the institutional and community values that promote excellence in end-of-life care. The Project's current status and future challenges are reviewed.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kvale EA; Williams BR; Bolden JL; Padgett CG; Bailey FA
  • Start Page

  • 486
  • End Page

  • 493
  • Volume

  • 7
  • Issue

  • 3