Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer Listening Tour: Notes from the Road, #2

Chicago - Austin - Kansas City...

As spring winds down and summer heats up, we find ourselves moving through Chicago, Austin and Kansas City in June. 

Red meat is definitely on the menu. As a barbecue aficionado, these listening tour stops gave me the added bonus of sharing Texas-style and Kansas City-style barbecue—and we enjoyed a barbecue-inspired Chicago pizza while in the Windy City (there’s nothing like a gastronomic theme to increase the fun of time on the road). As other barbecue fans will certainly understand, the style of barbecue from one geographic region of this great country to another reveals many differences that reflect the locale and population, while there are some traits that connect them all.  And we are finding that although there are regional differences among hospices, there are many more areas of common interest and concern. 

We enjoyed barbecue in Austin and Kansas City (and pizza in Chicago)
Above all, hospices are certainly concerned about the heart and soul of hospice—and that begins with training, recruitment and retention of professionals.  We are an industry of interdisciplinary care giving that relies quite heavily on trained and motivated personnel.  It is an important reminder in the day and age of smartphones and tablets that the heart of hospice needs to be tended to, cared for, nurtured, educated, disseminated, and never forgotten.  We will not take this for granted as we consider the future of hospice and palliative care.  

Our Chicago Session kicked off our tour in the mid and south-west.
We have also seen the importance of real patient and caregiver stories. Patients and caregivers have unique needs, but they are not necessarily unique by geography.  Each region has a mix of rural, urban, high and low- income.  We must remain united and focused on improving the hospice and palliative care benefits for all, and listening to our state partners and members has reaffirmed my belief that we have so much more in common than we realize. 

In the coming months, we will renew our focus on frontline professionals, and we will also continue to focus on the real lives and real stories of our patients.  Patients, providers and caregivers ARE the hospice benefit. United, we can make a real impact in the care that more and more Americans deserve to receive.  

L: Larry Farrow of Texas & New Mexico Hospice and Palliative Care Organization greets Edo in Austin. R: Board members of Nebraska Hospice and Palliative Care Association joined Edo in Kansas City.
Beginning in July, the listening tour moves on to the mid-Atlantic and New England areas.  The cuisine may be different, but I suspect that we’ll reinforce these messages as we go on, as well as garner more valuable insight from the field. I encourage you to join us for one of our upcoming sessions. Learn more and RSVP online

As we near July 4, I'm optimistic about our future and know that no matter what obstacles we face we will always be stronger together. No matter where we live and work it is clear we need to stay united and remain focused on what matters most -- the care of the patients and families we serve.

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