Monday, February 8, 2016

Special Education Offerings in Conjunction with April’s Management & Leadership Conference

A selection of preconference seminars and education sessions are made available prior to NHPCO's annual Management & Leadership Conference. Full day and half-day seminars are offered on April 19 & 20, 2016. 

NHPCO's Management and Leadership Conference will be hosted in National Harbor, Maryland (a suburb of Washington, DC) on April 21 - 23, 2016. In the two days prior to the MLC, a number of excellent professional development opportunities are available that address current topics of importance to the hospice and palliative care provider community.

Valuable sessions offered on April 20, include:

Building an Exceptional Physician/Executive Leadership Team
Hear from national hospice leaders on how to develop and strengthen relationships between physicians and executives. Learn why this relationship is so vital to a highly functioning hospice organization. Presented in collaboration between NHPCO and the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

HIPAA Security Best Practices
HIPAA compliance audits are frequent and the paybacks related to violations are large. Learn about the most vulnerable HIPAA security risks and strategies for mitigation.

The Art of Influential Leadership
Influence is the #1 challenge identified by C-suite executives and considered a key skill for effective leadership, impacting the ideas, opinions and actions of others – is essential in today’s highly collaborative organizations.

Build Up Your Hospice’s Defenses: Breaking Down Key Trends in Recent Government False Claims Act and Whistleblowers Cases
False Claim Act cases often stem from whistleblowers that are incentivized by the potential for financial rewards to make allegations against hospices. Learn the types of allegations made against hospices, how they extend beyond eligibility to the anti-kickback statute and related issues such as compensation, relationships with referral sources and the failure to make repayments.

Mindfulness and Leadership Excellence
, digital distractions and continuous partial attention are our norm. The practice of mindfulness – focusing in the present moment with an attitude of open awareness – can wire your brain for leadership excellence despite the chaos. 

Ethics for Hospice Managers
Beginning with an overview of ethical principles, this seminar will identify ethical elements in managerial dilemmas.

See the complete list of preconference seminars and educational offerings that are part of the 2016 MLC.

Online registration is open. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Creating #MoreMoments for African American Families and Caregivers

To commemorate the contributions that African Americans have made to our nation, Carter G. Woodson, American historian, established Black History Week. The first celebration occurred on Feb. 12, 1926. In 1976, as part of the nation's bicentennial, the week was expanded into Black History Month.

This year's theme is Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories.  “The Association for the Study of African American Life & History has selected this annual theme to bring attention to the centennial celebration of the National Park Service and the more than twenty-five sites and the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom that is part of America’s hallowed grounds...”( As we embark on Black History Month, we recognize that these historical landmarks are important in telling the stories of African American history and their memories.

This spring, NHPCO and Morgan State University will offer non-credit courses focused on educating caregivers to make informed decisions about end-of-life care.  NHPCO’s strategic plan includes expanding hospice and palliative care access to African American communities where a disparity of care exists. This collaboration between NHPCO and Morgan State University will help to move this important initiative forward.

The goal is that more African American patients, families and caregivers are able to have conversations, complete advance directives and become more informed decision-makers about end-of-life care.  By having these conversations before a crisis occurs, families are able to create lasting memories and #moremoments with their loved ones.

As a mom, sister, daughter, niece and past caregiver, I understand the importance of having conversations about these issues. I constantly remind my children of my wishes and talk to them about their wishes. I don’t want them to be afraid to talk about death.  Having that same conversation with my mom has not been so easy.  Although she understands that these conversations need to happen, she still has a hard time taking the next steps. Being from a large African American family, with tons of baby boomer aunties, uncles and cousins, I am excited about NHPCO’s collaboration with Morgan State University. I know that the courses will help African American families similar to my own family, have a better understanding of end-of-life care. This collaboration will create awareness, educate and encourage African American families in the Baltimore community to be their own advocates. Thus, creating #moremoments like Hannabelle and Deadra stories that are showcased in NHPCO’s “Moments of Life” public awareness campaign.

Morgan State University is a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) that is also known for its contributions to African-American history. As a HBCU, not only is its campus considered hallowed grounds but also, the city where it is located -- Baltimore. Founded in 1867 as the Centenary Biblical Institute by the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the institution's original mission was to train young men in ministry. It subsequently broadened its mission to educate both men and women as teachers. In 1939, Morgan State became a public institution.

As for the city of Baltimore, it is home to many notable African American sites including, Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, The Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park, and The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum.

Cozzie King
NHPCO Senior Manager, Access Programs

NHPCO’s Cozzie King, second from left, shares her thoughts on African American History Month and the disparity of hospice care in the African American community.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

NHPCO Welcomes New Board Members

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization welcomes new individuals to the organization’s Board of Directors. These individuals officially join the board at NHPCO’s first board meeting of the year on January 27, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale.

Elected by the NHPCO membership to serve as National Directors for a three-year term are Darren Bertram of Infinity Hospice Care, Phoenix, Ariz. and Rafael Sciullo, Suncoast Hospice of Clearwater, Fla. Jan Jones, of The Elizabeth Hospice in Escondido, Calif., has been elected for a second term as a National Director.

Sally Aldrich, of Methodist Alliance Hospice in Collierville, Tenn, was elected as the board’s Southeast Geographic Area Representative. Linda Todd, of Hospice of Siouxland in Correctionville, Iowa, was reelected for a second term as the Central Plains Geographic Area Representative.

“We are fortunate to have board members who are not only experienced in running programs but dedicated to improving care at the end of life through the provision of and access to quality hospice and palliative care services,” said J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of NHPCO.

Continuing in their roles as officers of the Board of Directors are Linda Rock, Chair; Jan Jones, Vice Chair; Sandy Kuhlman, Secretary; Michael McHale, Treasurer; and Ron Fried, Immediate Past Chair.

Additionally, NHPCO extends special thanks to the board members who concluded service in 2015: Samira Beckwith, Kate Cummings, and John Thoma.

Board members come from programs that vary in size, serve urban and rural areas, and represent single-site and multi-state providers. We also have expertise from academic institutions and other nonprofit organizations. We all share a common goal to improve care at the end of life and to those joining the board, those currently serving, and those who have concluded service, I thank them,” Schumacher added.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

JAMA Focuses on Care at End of Life

Hospice and palliative care professionals and advocates will be interested in the current edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, January 19, 2016, Vol 315, No. 3, that contains a collection of articles and research studies on care of the dying.

Contributing authors include Harvey Max Chochinov, MD, Atul Gawande, MD, Timothy E. Quill, MD, Joan Teno, MD, Alexi A. Wright, MD, and many others recognized in the field of medicine and end-of-life care.

One of the original articles being made available free of charge online and of interest to ehospice readers is "Comparison of Site of Death, Health Care Utilization, and Hospital Expenditures for Patients Dying With Cancer in 7 Developed Countries."  In the conclusion of this research article, study authors write, "Among patients older than 65 years who died with cancer in 7 developed countries in 2010, end-of-life care was more hospital-centric in Belgium, Canada, England, Germany, and Norway than in the Netherlands or the United States."

An infographic also available to the public is "When and Why People Die in the United States, 1990-2013."

In his editorial, "Quantity and Quality of Life," Dr. Gawande writes "The picture of care at the end of life that emerges is therefore disturbing. A widespread perception among both the medical profession and the public at large has been that seeking palliative care consultation or hospice services, or even just having advance planning discussions, amounts to “giving up” and is only relevant when people no longer have options for disease-based therapy. This view is incorrect and harmful."

Find the full listing of articles in this edition on the JAMA website.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Guide to Organizational Ethics in Hospice Care

NHPCO is pleased to announce a new resource for hospice programs and professionals being made free-of-charge for NHPCO members.

Written by members of the Ethics Advisory Council, the Guide to Organizational Ethics in Hospice Care presents four key concepts of the hospice philosophy of care. Seven organizational values are explained and applied to seven core operational domains, with examples of how the values can be integrated into policies and practices.

The intent is for organizations and individuals to use the framework and values in this document to inform development and implementation of organizational policies, procedures, and practices consistent with ethical standards, resonant with the hospice philosophy of care.

NHPCO Members may download the Guide to Organizational Ethics in Hospice Care from the NHPCO website (log-in is required).

Monday, December 14, 2015

Dealing with grief & loss during the holiday

Many people are greatly affected by ongoing media coverage of national and international tragedies that have played out in recent weeks, just ahead of the holidays. And for those individuals who are grieving the death of a loved one, the holiday season can also be a particularly painful time. 

Hospice professionals, who are experts in helping people deal with feelings of loss and grief, recognize how difficult the holidays can be for some. NHPCO offers helpful suggestions as the holiday season moves forward.

1. Be understanding and supportive if someone wants to do things differently this holiday season.  Some people find strength in long established traditions while others may choose to avoid customs of the past and do something new. It’s okay to do things differently.

2. Offer to help with decorating or holiday cooking. Both tasks can be overwhelming for someone who is grieving or overwhelmed by events going on in the world around us. Lending a hand can be a great way to let someone know you’re thinking about them and their wellbeing.

3. Invite someone to join you or your family during the holidays.  If someone you know seems down or depressed, consider inviting them to join you for a holiday concert, religious service or a holiday meal where they are a guest. You might even offer to accompany them on a holiday shopping trip where a friend and extra set of hands can be helpful.

4. Ask the person if he or she is interested in volunteering with you during the holidays. Doing something for someone else, such as helping at a soup kitchen, staffing a coat drive, or working with children, may lift your spirits and help everyone feel better about the holidays.

5. Never tell someone that he or she should get ‘over it.’  It can be important to acknowledge that a friend or loved one is struggling. Don’t discount their emotions, but give the person hope that, eventually, he or she will enjoy the holidays again.

6. Be willing to listen.  Don’t avoid someone because you don’t know what to say. Active listening from friends and family is an important step to helping someone coping with grief or overwhelming feelings of loss. Letting them share their feelings can help healing.

7. Don’t be afraid to remember someone who has died.  When someone is grieving, it is okay to let them know that you are thinking of the loved one who died. Cards, phone calls and visits are great ways to stay in touch.

8. Follow up after the holidays to check in.  Given the activity of the season, some people may make it through the holidays without any issues but they might find the post-holiday period to be more difficult. So circling back after the holidays to see how he or she is doing can help.
Many hospice and palliative care programs throughout the country host seasonal events for the community that bring feelings of peace and goodwill such as the Festival of Trees, an annual event from Hospice & Community Care in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Carrying Hospice Messages to New Audiences

In recent weeks, millions of people have had the opportunity to learn more about hospice and palliative care through outreach and efforts of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and National Hospice Foundation.

American Airlines - Travelers in business and first-class on American Airlines will see a short film that may challenge everything they think they know about hospice care.  The new video portrays the meaningful moments that can still happen, despite a life-limiting serious or terminal illness and shatters the myth that choosing hospice is “giving up.”  The video shows real hospice patients from across the U.S. who kept on living fully and cherishing special moments spent with family and friends. 

Hospice video on American Airlines

The film will be broadcast to approximately a quarter-million travelers this fall, on more than 5,800 American Airlines video-equipped flights. It will also be shared via the National Hospice Foundation and social media sources to help people understand the many benefits of hospice and palliative care.

Costco Members - NHPCO worked with the editor of Costco’s member publication, Costco Connection, sharing information about hospice care in the November issue’s Health Calendar column. November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and the Costco Connection health tip provided key messages about hospice care.

The online version of the November Costco Connection includes a link to an educational video “What is Hospice?”  It addresses common questions many people have, including: “When is it time for hospice?” and “How can hospice help a patient and family?”

To learn more about hospice and palliative care or to find a provider in your area, visit the Moments of Life website.