Monday, November 23, 2015

Understanding Palliative Care

"Deadra's Story" a new video about the ways palliative care changed one woman’s life has been released as part of NHPCO's Moments of Life: Made Possible by Hospice campaign.

In May of 2014, Deadra Gladden was in the hospital, feeling hopeless, and in excruciating pain due to lupus, a disease she has been battling for over half her young life. Deadra’s doctors told her family it was time to call hospice. But after a consult with a nurse from Samaritan Healthcare and Hospice, a palliative care team was brought in instead. In the new video, viewers get a glimpse at how much Deadra’s life has improved because of palliative care.

Palliative care, sometimes referred to as “comfort care,” is a specialized approach to the treatment of patients with a serious or life-threatening illness. The goal of palliative care is to provide relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of serious illness. It is also designed to improve the quality of life of both the patient and the patient’s family.   Patients can continue to receive aggressive and curative kinds of treatment like chemotherapy, radiation, dialysis and surgery while receiving palliative care.

Learn more about palliative care on the Moments of Life website.

Monday, November 16, 2015

DC Media Focuses on Care of Dying Veterans

Across the nation, attention turned to U.S. military Veterans on November 11, a day of annual remembrance and appreciation for those who have served our country. In the Washington, DC area, two prominent media outlets featured stories about the We Honor Veterans initiative and the work hospices are doing to care for Veterans.

Hospices are dedicated to making sure that Veterans under their care receive the acknowledgment and support they need at life's end.

On station WJLA's morning's broadcast of "Good Morning Washington" –  the ABC affiliate in DC – news journalist Autria Godfrey interviewed former Lieutenant Colonel Dave Benhoff, a former Marine who has continued his service to others as the Veterans Coordinator at Virginia's Heartland Hospice.

Benhoff was accompanied by his therapy dog, Nikita, and he spoke about the ways that he and Nikita support Veterans who are receiving care from Heartland Hospice. (A video, “Nikita’s Mission,” is available on the Moments of Life: Made Possible by Hospice website.)

That same day, on WUSA Channel 9's "Great Day Washington" broadcast, Benhoff was joined by Dr. Scott Shreve, National Director for Hospice and Palliative Care for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Shreve and Benhoff spoke about some of the unique needs that Veterans have at the end of life and the ways that the We Honor Veterans initiative, an innovative project developed five years ago by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has improved care for dying Veterans.

Currently, one out of four dying Americans has served in the military. Most served during World War II, the Korean War or the Vietnam War.  For many combat Veterans, difficult situations faced during their military service can come back and be difficult to cope with - both for the patient and family caregivers. Hospices are dedicated to making sure that Veterans under their care receive the acknowledgment and support they need at life's end.

See NHPCO’s press release honoring U.S. Veterans.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

November Hospice & Palliative Care Month Proclamation

In recognition of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, NHPCO has issued the following proclamation calling for increased awareness and acknowledgement of the many accomplishments of hospice and palliative care.
WHEREAS, hospice and palliative care empower people facing a serious or life-limiting illness to live as fully as possible, surrounded and supported by family and loved ones;

WHEREAS, hospice and palliative care professionals are dedicated to helping diverse communities access quality end-of-life care and are committed to removing barriers to accessing care;

WHEREAS,  hospice and palliative care bring patients and family caregivers the highest quality care delivered by an interdisciplinary team of skilled professionals that includes physicians, nurses, social workers, therapists, counselors, health aides, spiritual care providers and others who make the wishes of each patient and family a priority;

WHEREAS, through pain management and symptom control, caregiver training and assistance, and emotional and spiritual support, allowing patients to live fully and make more meaningful moments until the end,  surrounded and supported by the faces of loved ones, friends, and committed caregivers;

WHEREAS, Each year, hospice saves Medicare more than $2 billion by providing solutions for physicians, care to patients and comfort to families anywhere, at any time.
WHEREAS, every year more than 1.6 to 1.7 million Americans living with life-limiting illness, and their families, received care from the nation’s hospice programs in communities throughout the United States;

WHEREAS, more than 430,000 trained volunteers contribute 19 million hours of service to hospice programs annually in the U.S.;

WHEREAS, hospice and palliative care providers encourage all people to learn more about options of care and to share their wishes with family, loved ones, and their healthcare professionals;

NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved, by virtue of the authority vested in the Board of Directors of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, we do hereby proclaim November 2015 as National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and encourage citizens to increase their understanding and awareness of care at the end of life and to observe this month with appropriate activities and programs.

Learn more about hospice and see real stories of patients and families showing all that hospice can do to make more meaningful moments possible at

Friday, October 23, 2015

We Honor Veterans briefing held on Capitol Hill

The Hospice Action Network hosted a Congressional briefing on the We Honor Veterans program on Thursday, October 22, 2015 in the Senate Visitors Center at the U.S. Capitol.

One in four dying Americans is a Veteran. Recognizing the unique end-of-life needs Veterans face, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to create the We Honor Veterans campaign, a public-private partnership that supports hospice organizations and workers in caring for Veterans in their final days.

More than 2,700 hospices across the country participate in the initiative, which promotes Veteran-centric educational activities, increases hospices’ ability to serve Veterans, supports the development of strategic partnerships and increases Veterans’ access to hospice and palliative care.

“We are proud of the tremendous growth and success of We Honor Veterans because it reflects the commitment our hospice and other partners have to providing quality end-of-life care to our nation’s Veterans,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO’s President & CEO. “It is an honor to work closely with the VA and our partners to ensure that the men and women who have given so selflessly receive the support and compassionate care they deserve.”

The briefing featured Thomas Edes from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, David Benhoff, an Operation Iraqi/Enduring Freedom Veteran who serves Veterans through the We Honor Veterans initiative, and Jonathan Keyserling, senior vice president for health policy at NHPCO.

More information about the We Honor Veterans program is available online; additional information about the Congressional briefing is available on the Hospice Action Network website.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Advanced Level Palliative Care Webinars for the Entire Team

The MJHS Institute for Innovation in Palliative Care has partnered with NHPCO to offer a series of interprofessional webinars that provide enhanced clinical education on an array of topics relevant to every member of the team.

Building on the success of the webinars offered by the MJHS Institute for Innovation in Palliative Care, NHPCO and MJHS Institute have co-developed a webinar series focused on palliative care provision. The series began in September 2015 and have been scheduled through 2016. View the list of webinars on the MJHS website.

Upcoming webinars include:
  • Palliative Care in Parkinson's Disease and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases (on 11/05/15)
  • Assessment and Management of Fatigue in Medical Illness (on 12/03/15)
  • Integrative Therapies in Palliative Care: Mind-Body Therapies (on 01/07/15).
The webinars are one hour in length and offer 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™, 1.0 Nursing CE credits and/or its equivalent according to discipline.

“I'm delighted to be working and collaborating with NHPCO moving forward in creating new educational resources that will advance palliative care,” said Russell Portenoy, MD, executive director of the MJHS Institute for Innovation in Palliative Care.

NHPCO Executive Vice President John Mastrojohn remarked, “As presented in the Institute of Medicine report on care of the dying, there is a need to make palliative care available to all individuals across the continuum of care. NHPCO's commitment is consistent with those recommendations and we strongly believe that palliative care is not just for those at the end of life but is beneficial to patients and families in a variety of settings. Together NHPCO and MJHS Institute will enhance access to high quality education and support the professional development for those who provide frontline care.”

Portenoy video
MJHS Executive Director Russell Portenoy, MD talks about the webinar collaboration.

Learn more and see the complete schedule. Registration opens shortly before the scheduled program date.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Special training on community-based palliative care from NHPCO and CSU Institute

A special education offering, Leading the Way to Community-Based Palliative Care Success, is being offer by the California State University Institute for Palliative Care and NHPCO on October 14, 2015. This day-long seminar is part of NHPCO's annual Clinical Team Conference and Pediatric Intensive being held in Grapevine, Texas (just outside of Dallas).

As palliative care moves into the community, who better than hospice programs to provide palliative care in their respective communities? This highly interactive workshop will ensure that providers understand what it takes to deliver palliative care, and to create a clear, defined path which leads to success.

Since its inception in 2012, the CSU Institute for Palliative Care has trained over 800 health care professionals from across the US and around the world - nurses, social workers, chaplains and allied health professionals. The Institute knows and understands workforce development. California State University trains 15% of the nation’s graduating health care workforce. The Institute's palliative care faculty includes experts in all the core palliative care disciplines. In addition to training professionals, the Institute works with organizations, teaching leaders how to build, promote and grow palliative care services.

Those interested in attending Leading the Way to Community-Based Palliative Care Success (preconference PC03) should visit the Clinical Team Conference website. Advance registration closes September 20, so register today and save.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

2015 Clinical Team Conference & Pediatric Intensive - "Expanding the Mission"

NHPCO's 16th Clinical Team Conference and Pediatric Intensive will be held October 15-17, 2015 (with preconference events Oct. 13-14) in cooperation with the Texas/New Mexico Hospice Organization.

"Expanding the Mission" is the theme of this year's CTC being held at the Gaylord Texan, in Grapevine, Texas (just outside Dallas). Registration is now open.

This year's CTC will gather innovators, visionaries, dedicated practitioners and all committed to the continued development and expansion of hospice and palliative care. Whether you provide care to patients and families directly through interdisciplinary practice, manage interdisciplinary team staff, lead quality efforts or are responsible for related practices and processes, this conference will be worthwhile. All members of the hospice and palliative care team and community stakeholders are encouraged to attend.

Register before August 24, 2015 and save $100 with the early-bird registration rate. For additional information, download the conference promotional brochure (PDF).