Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Time to Take Pause

I have the good fortune of living in our nation’s capital, a wonderful spot to be during the July 4 festivities. While the fireworks are always spectacular and the spirit of patriotism palpable, what I also enjoy is the time we take to pay tribute to the many individuals in our own communities who, through their service and dedication, enrich our lives.

Julia Quinlan, the mother of Karen Ann Quinlan, is one of the first people that comes to my mind. June 11 marked the 25-year anniversary of her daughter’s death and, in May, she helped celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the hospice she and her late-husband, Joseph, founded in their daughter’s honor. I had the opportunity to talk with her last month about her family’s decade-long ordeal, how she came to learn about hospice, and the work she is still doing at the vibrant age of 83. Excerpts from our conversation appear in the July issue of NHPCO’s NewsLine, and I think, as you read it, you will find her accomplishments inspiring. Members can find July NewsLine at

Mrs. Quinlan is one of the exceptional people who make hospice care what it is today, but there are others. A few weeks ago, as I was reviewing our first digital edition of Insights, I was reminded of many others. This magazine, which is a publication of NHPCO’s National Council of Hospice and Palliative Professionals, is very much a forum for our membership. Under the guidance of NCHPP’s leadership, members from around the country contribute articles about the work they are doing to improve care at the bedside. This particular issue mirrors the theme of our August conference on Developing the Care Continuum, and includes 15 articles by well-known hospice leaders as well as lesser-known clinicians who are equally committed. I’d like to offer a link to the digital issue of Insights for those who are interested in sharing the work of NHPCO members.

Last but not least, I’d like to personally thank John Thoma, the CEO of Hospice of Wake County, for writing the July NewsLine cover story about NHPCO’s new Standards and how it has benefited his program. He and his fellow members on the Quality and Standards Committee were instrumental in making this critical document a practical tool for the entire membership.

While the long holiday is now behind us, I hope you have each set aside time to enjoy some sunshine with your friends and loved ones. While our dedication to service excellence is both necessary and laudable, it requires sufficient rest.


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