AFT Resolution


WHEREAS, palliative care is a medical specialty that provides coordinated, comprehensive care to alleviate pain and suffering for anyone who is given a life-threatening or life-altering diagnosis to provide comfort and support for the patient and for the patient’s loved ones; and

WHEREAS, palliative care differs from hospice in that one is not required to have a prognosis of six months or less, and curative treatment is allowed and provided; and

WHEREAS, palliative care in practice could be considered an individual medical plan, for anyone with a serious or potentially serious medical diagnosis. Because seriously ill patients need a plan to help them locate appropriate services and the best treatment options, and help them transition to the most appropriate environment, palliative care would help people navigate the system, as well as find pain relief, comfort and cure, if possible, right from the beginning; and

WHEREAS, palliative care is routinely provided by a team that includes physicians, nurses, chaplains, social workers and others who work together with a patient’s own doctor to provide an extra layer of support for the patient and for the patient’s loved ones; and

WHEREAS, many institutions provide palliative care, but it is still a relatively new specialty; it therefore might be necessary to ask for it; and

WHEREAS, in January 2009, palliative care was included as a covered benefit in the single-payer bill, H.R. 676, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, but the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act does not include it. Palliative care must be included in any bill that calls itself healthcare reform; and

WHEREAS, World Health passed a resolution calling for “all public health systems worldwide to integrate palliative care into their national health services”; and

WHEREAS, the public and many medical professionals need to be informed and educated about palliative care; and

WHEREAS, the United States is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not have a healthcare system; on the basis of equality, we must demand that quality healthcare be available to us all. Critically, chronically ill people just cannot wait:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will support efforts to pass PCHETA, the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act, H.R. 3119 and S. 2748.



Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.