Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Engage with Grace at Join the Blog Rally. Pass it on. #EWG

Some Conversations are Easier than Others
Take Time this Holiday Season to Ask Your Loved Ones about Their End-of-Life Wishes

Last Thanksgiving weekend, many of bloggers across the Internet participated in the first documented “blog rally” to promote Engage With Grace – a movement to get more and more people talking about their end of life wishes.
It was a great success, with over 100 bloggers in the healthcare space and beyond participating and spreading the word. Plus, it was timed to coincide with Thanksgiving weekend when most of us are with the very people with whom we should be having these tough conversations – our closest friends and family.
At the heart of Engage With Grace are five questions designed to get the conversation started. National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization wants to share these questions with you. They’re not easy questions, but they are important. Think about them, document them, share them.
Over the past year there’s been a lot of discussion around end of life. Throughout the year, the Engage With Grace team has been fortunate to hear many uplifting stories, as folks have used these five questions to initiate the conversation.
One man shared how surprised he was to learn that his wife’s preferences were not what he expected. Befitting this holiday, The One Slide, seen below, now stands sentry on their fridge.
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s Caring Connections provides a wide range of materials to help families talk about the care they would want and take steps to make their wishes know. This includes state-specific advance directive forms that can be downloaded free-of-charge. Visit Caring Connections at or call 1-800-658-8898.
Learn more about Engage With Grace at
To download The One Slide or for suggestions on using it, go to

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New Facts & Figures - Concern over short stays.

NHPCO Cites Concern Over Growing Short Length of Service in New Facts and Figures on Hospice Care in the U.S.

New Report on Hospice Care in America Released as November’s National Hospice/Palliative Care Month Begins

(Alexandria, Va) – More than 35 percent (35.4) of patients served by hospices in 2008 died or were discharged in seven days or less reports the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. This reflects a 4.6 percent increase from 2007, when 30.8 percent of patients had what is considered a short hospice experience.

Patients and families receiving care for seven days or less are often unable to take full advantage of the range of benefits that the hospice interdisciplinary team provides. These benefits include psychosocial support and spiritual care for patients and their families as well as pain management and symptom control,

While the average length of service increased from 67.4 days in 2007 to 69.5 days in 2008, the jump in patients receiving care for a short time is of concern to hospice providers and NHPCO.

Only 12.1 percent of those served died or were discharged with service of 180 days or more.

These statistics are featured in the report, “NHPCO Facts and Figures: Hospice Care in America,” which was released by NHPCO as the hospice and palliative care community begins to mark National Hospice/Palliative Care Month, an annual month of awareness and outreach celebrated every November.

NHPCO emphasizes the value of hospice care over the last months of a person’s life, not just the last days.

“More awareness of the care options available when facing a serious or life-limiting illness—among both the public and healthcare professionals—is still needed,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO.

“The advance care planning provision that has been so hotly debated in health care reform discussions could be an important mechanism for helping dying Americans avoid hospice experiences that are too short to fully help them or their family caregivers.”

Learning about options before a patient and family are faced with a health crisis is strongly recommended by NHPCO. Hospices frequently provide information to community members interested in advance care planning.

Additional information about hospice, palliative care, and advance care planning is available from NHPCO’s Caring Connections at or by calling the HelpLine at 800-658-8898.

“NHPCO Facts and Figures: Hospice Care in America,” is available in the News Room at


Jon Radulovic
Vice President of Communications
Ph: 703-837-3139

For more information visit,