Thursday, January 22, 2015

"Palliative Care Approach to Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias"

NHPCO will be offering a webinar on February 12 that will explore the benefits of palliative care in supporting patients and families living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Since January of 2011, ten-thousand Baby Boomers have been turning 65 every day. This "Silver Tsunami" of 79 million aging Americans will continue until 2030. By then, 18% of the US population will be over age 65, an increase from 13% in 2010. With this sharp increase in the number of older Americans, we will see dramatically more patients with chronic debilitating illnesses, including Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

The prevalence of Alzheimer's dementia in the US population is expected to triple by 2050 and has been called the "great health crisis of the 21st century". Palliative care has much to offer these patients and families.

Using a case-based approach, this NHPCO Webinar will:
  • Describe the impact of dementia upon American society in the next 20 years.
  • Discuss the value of palliative care in helping patients and families living with dementia.
  • Identify specific treatment strategies in the palliative management of dementia.
To learn more about this Webinar and to register for "A Palliative Care Approach to Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias," please visit the NHPCO website.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Call for Proposals: Clinical Team Conference 2015

Be Part of CTC 2015!  Are you committed to expanding care in diverse settings to diverse populations? How about improving the function and practice of interdisciplinary teams? Or enhancing the quality of evidence-based, ethical, effective and efficient care at the end of life?
If you are, plan to join innovators, visionaries, dedicated practitioners and all committed to the continued development and expansion of hospice and palliative care as faculty for NHPCO’s 16th Clinical Team Conference and Pediatric Intensive (CTC).
The CTC Call for Proposals is open and available to receive your great ideas for education sessions; the deadline for proposals is February 17, 2015. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

New study shows benefits of home-based palliative care

Research published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine finds that home-based palliative care programs may achieve cost savings while helping provide care across the continuum.

Researchers led by Christopher W. Kerr, MD, PhD, examined the impact of a home-based palliative care program that was offered through a partnership between a hospice and a private nonprofit commercial insurance payer in western New York state
The findings are reported in an article, "Cost Savings and Enhanced Hospice Enrollment with a Home-Based Palliative Care Program Implemented as a Hospice–Private Payer Partnership," published in the new edition of the Journal of Palliative Medicine (Volume 17, Number 12, 2014).

The most significant savings were found in the final three months of life where cost savings for those who utilized the available home-based palliative care services was $6,804 per member per month. Hospital admissions and specialty visits were significantly lower than in the control group. Additionally, researchers found that hospice access was enhanced (70% versus 25%) and longer length of stay in hospice were observed.

Researchers wrote, "Collectively, these findings demonstrate the significant potential of a home-based palliative care program to achieve the Institute of Healthcare Improvement's Triple Aims goals of lower costs, higher quality, and improved satisfaction."

Access the article abstract online - a link to the full article is available.

Monday, November 3, 2014

"Take a Moment. Make a Moment." on November 7

In honor of National Hospice & Palliative Care Month 2014, NHPCO will be encouraging member organizations, hospice professionals, and the general public to participate in a nationwide social media push entitled: “Take a Moment. Make a Moment.” on Friday, November 7, 2014.

Why you should participate in “Take a Moment. Make a Moment.”
Social media is more prevalent than ever and NHPCO wants to help member organizations experience the benefits by getting involved online. "Take a Moment. Make a Moment." is designed so that hospice providers of any size can participate.

On Friday, November 7,  NHPCO and all participating organizations/professionals will post photos of special moments made possible by hospice and palliative care. By using compelling photographs and uniform messaging, the hospice community will be able to draw attention to National Hospice & Palliative Care Month and the hospice community as a whole.

Benefits of Participating
NHPCO is offering some wonderful incentives for member organizations to participate on November 7.  Organizations who contribute to “Take a Moment. Make a Moment.” will receive:

•  An online “Moments of Life” Participant Badge. Participating organizations will be given access to an online icon that can be used on your website to signify your involvement in this national campaign.

•   A unique web page on The Moments of Life: Made Possible by Hospice website is viewed by thousands of individuals each month. Organizations who participate in “Take a Moment. Make a Moment.” will be given a unique web page in the Share Your Story Photo Gallery Section of the website. On this unique web page, NHPCO will include a hyperlink to your organization which will enhance web presence. In addition, organizations can use their unique webpage as an effective online promotional tool.
We hope that you will join NHPCO on Friday, November 7 for “Take a Moment. Make a Moment.” By participating, you will be helping to spread awareness about hospice & palliative care and will also receive online assets that will demonstrate your organization’s involvement with hospice & palliative care on a national level.

To learn how to participate, visit the official “Take a Moment. Make a Moment." webpage.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hospice Volunteers Honored for Outstanding Service

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization recognized four outstanding volunteers at the organization’s 15th Clinical Team Conference held in Nashville, Tennessee.  The Volunteers are the Foundation of Hospice Awards recognizes hospice volunteers who best reflect the universal concept of volunteerism in its truest sense—serving as an inspiration to others.

This year’s recipients and the area for which they were honored are:

Clarence Smith, a volunteer with Beacon Hospice, an Amedisys company, in South Portland, Maine, for patient and family support.  He is a Korean War veteran who is actively involved in Beacon’s We Honor Veterans program, has volunteered since 2007 and has logged approximately 1,200 hours in patient visits.

Elizabeth “Betty” Takes, a volunteer with Hospice of Dubuque in Dubuque, Iowa, for organizational support. She has dedicated over 30 years of her life to Hospice of Dubuque both professionally as a nurse and personally as a volunteer and board of directors member.

Margi Miller, a volunteer with Tidewell Hospice in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, for specialized volunteer support.  She uses her musical and artistic talent to help patients and families and has provided over 1,000 hours of service.

Katharine Foster, a volunteer with BJC Hospice in St. Louis, Missouri, for young leader support.  She is a pre-med student who began volunteering in 2012.  Since then she has logged 200 hours of direct patient contact. 

Volunteers play an integral role in hospice care and each and every one deserves recognition and the highest accolades.  From direct patient support and caregiver relief to administrative support in a local hospice office, hospice volunteers selflessly give of their time to serve patients and families who are facing end-of-life challenges,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO. 

NHPCO reports that there are more than 355,000 trained hospice volunteers contributing more than 16 million hours of service to hospice organizations across the country.

Volunteer Award recipients (L to R): Katharine Foster, Betty Takes, Margi Miller, and Clarence Smith.

Friday, October 17, 2014

NIH Grants for Research on Arts in Palliative Care

The National Institutes of Health has funding opportunities to support arts-based approaches in palliative care for symptom management. NIH has posted information about a Research Project Grant, "Arts-Based Approaches in Palliative Care for Symptom Management" (R01).

As stated in the NIH announcment: The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to support mechanistic clinical studies aimed at understanding the impact of arts-based approaches in palliative care for symptom management. This FOA is intended to support mechanistic clinical studies to provide an evidence base for the use of the arts in palliative care for symptom management. The objective is to understand the biological, physiological, neurological, psychological, and/or sociological mechanisms by which the arts exert their effects on symptom management during and throughout the palliative care continuum. The goal is for the research supported under this FOA to develop an evidence-base that could be used as a basis for the uptake of arts-based therapies in palliative care settings, among individuals across the lifespan, with a wide variety of serious chronic conditions and their accompanying symptoms. This FOA is not intended to determine efficacy or the comparative effectiveness of interventions, or to assess interventions designed to treat the underlying cause of a particular disease state.

The Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number is PAR-14-294.

Find more information at:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

President Obama Signs IMPACT Act Bringing Valuable Oversight to Hospices

Yesterday afternoon, President Obama signed into law the “Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014” (IMPACT Act) that includes provisions creating greater oversight and increased transparency within the hospice community. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization heralds the passage of this legislation and the additional oversight it will bring to end-of-life care providers.

The provisions that affect hospice providers are:
  1. Mandated surveys of Medicare certified hospice providers at least every three years for the next ten years at the minimum.
  2. Medical reviews for hospice programs with a soon to be determined percentage/number of patients receiving care for more than 180 days. The specific patient load that would trigger this medical review will be set by CMS.
  3. Hospice aggregate financial cap will be aligned with hospice reimbursement using a common inflationary index that will not change hospice reimbursement for providers.
“As hospice and palliative care providers, we care for patients and families at one of life’s most vulnerable times.  Americans need to know that all Medicare-certified providers are committed to the highest standards of quality and compliance.  This new law strengthens oversight and transparency throughout the entire hospice community,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO. “NHPCO applauds President Obama for signing the IMPACT Act into law.”

“Under NHPCO’s leadership, the hospice community has been on the frontlines of advocating for increased transparency, program integrity, and accountability. We believe that the hospice provisions included in the IMPACT Act are critically important steps in this direction,” stressed Schumacher.