It started with a conversation that sounded like the dialogue from an episode of “Mission Impossible.” There was one big difference, however; I don’t remember hearing the words “should you choose to accept this mission…” The mission was ours; the task was to create an educational program, a Community-Based Palliative Care Intensive about what’s next in community-based palliative care. It was described as “next practices.” Community – Based Palliative Care 2025 was to be the topic!
“Palliative care outside of the hospital is still fairly new,” we thought, “even though hospice has always been providing it.” Community-based palliative care is an even more recent addition to the healthcare continuum. We know the names of some very successful programs but most of these are less than ten years old. Who could possibly guess where they might be in ten years?
Suddenly, one of us thought of those little Russian nesting dolls. Inside every large doll is a series of smaller dolls. One has to peel down to get to the core; to get to the smallest doll. Conversely the largest doll is built on the others. Our task was to build up! We already have the kernel.
After discussing the topic with several “experts” in the field, we had some great ideas about what “futuring” might possibly look like for community-based palliative care. The first bit of advice, however, was not to attempt to look ten years into the future. That was the end of “Palliative Care 2025.” We were cautioned that change is continually happening – we are in the midst of it – and trying to predict ten years down the road is likely impossible.
So we did some research on the topic of “futuring.” What is it? Why is it important? The authors of Dance of Change warn that futuring, while not easy, is essential for program planning and development. It challenges us to look forward not just ahead. We analyze internal assumptions, scan the environment and use data to identify emerging issues. We were convinced that futuring would be our goal.
Putting the Intensive together has been an opportunity for us to learn and grow; to look at things in a different way.
Attending the Intensive will be your gift to yourself and to your program. We’ll be stimulated and challenged together and may even “…boldly go where no one has gone before.” Join us, your colleagues and experts in the field as we co-create the future of community-based palliative care.
Judith A. Skretny
Director of Palliative Care
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
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