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The Washington Rural Palliative Care Initiative (WRPCI) is a pilot effort to better serve patients with serious illness in rural communities. Led by the Washington State Office of Rural Health at the Washington State Department of Health, this public-private partnership involves over 24 different organizations to assist rural health systems and communities to integrate palliative care in multiple settings, such as emergency department, inpatient, skilled rehabilitation, home health, hospice, primary care, and long-term care.

Seven rural communities are currently participating in the Initiative. The Washington State Office of Rural Health team is linked to efforts in North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, with technical assistance and funding from Stratis Health, pioneers in rural palliative care. The project also had funding support from Amerigroup/Anthem. WRPCI prepared a summary report on the first year of telehealth activities.

The WA Rural Palliative Care Initiative is pleased to welcome nine new communities to the new Cohort 2: Anacortes, Clarkston, Davenport, Ellensburg, Elma, Goldendale, Port Angeles, San Juan Islands and Stevens County.


What is Palliative Care? 

Palliative care is specialized care for people living with serious illness. Care is focused on relief from the symptoms and stress of the illness and treatment—whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to improve and sustain quality of life for the patient, loved ones and other care companions. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with active treatment. Palliative care facilitates patient autonomy, access to information, and choice. The palliative care team helps patients and families understand the nature of their illness, and make timely, informed decisions about care.

Please explore the Washington Rural Palliative Care Initiative Handbook to learn more about the framework of this initiative.

Now available! The Palliative Care Road Map

Palliative Care Road Map link

The Palliative Care Road Map is a publication to help patients, and the people they love sort through the experience of serious illness and conditions. Healthcare teams may find it a useful tool for assisting their patients. Each section offers empathy and information to help make sense of how serious illnesses and conditions unfold over time, with listed resources and key terms defined.


2021 Training

  • January 26: Advanced Skill Building for Complex Care Conversations for Families
    • Webinar Recording
  • February 23: Advanced Skill Building for Complex Care Conversations for Colleagues
    • Webinar Recording
  • March 22: Complex Conversations Training at the Northwest Rural Health Conference   

How can other rural communities get involved?

  • Please contact Pat Justis for more information.

  • This portal has resources intended to help a wider group of rural health communities and organizations.

Learn more about the Washington Rural Palliative Care Initiative.


Palliative Care Cohort Organization



Island Hospital Anacortes
Columbia Basin Hospital Ephrata
Columbia County Health System Dayton
Tristate Hospital Clarkston
Lincoln Hospital District #3 Davenport
Summit Pacific Medical Center Elma
Klickitat Valley Health Goldendale
Jefferson Healthcare Port Townsend
Okanogan Palliative Care Team Okanogan County
Olympic Medical Center Port Angeles
Pullman Regional Hospital Pullman
Interisland Healthcare Foundation and Member San Juan Islands
Providence- Stevens County Stevens County
Whitman Hospital and Medical Center Colfax



Washington State Department of Health

Pat Justis

Executive Director, State Office of Rural Health
Leader, Washington Rural Palliative Care Initiative