Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Support The HELP the Hospices Act!

Calling All Hospice Advocates: The HELP Hospice Act has been introduced in the US House as H.R. 3506, and the race is on to get co-sponsors! You can use the Hospice Action Network's Legislative Action Center right now to contact your representative and ask them to sign on- as always the HAN team is available to answer any questions you might have, contact them at

Visit the HAN Legislative Action Center today!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

National Day of Listening - November 25

NHPCO is National Partner for StoryCorps’ 2011 National Day of Listening

Many Americans know Friday, November 25 as “Black Friday” – traditionally the largest shopping day of the year. However, the nation’s hospice providers want people to know that it’s more than that.

November 25 is the third annual National Day of Listening, a national holiday started by the acclaimed oral history nonprofit organization StoryCorps in 2008. It is a day when families are encouraged to give the gift of storytelling to their loved ones, leaving a legacy that’s likely to be treasured more than any gift you could purchase. It is an effort to encourage all Americans to honor a friend, a loved one, or a member of their community by interviewing them about their lives.

As part of November’s National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, NHPCO has been encouraging hospice providers and community coalitions to make the 2011 National Day of Listening part of the outreach efforts for the month.

National Day of Listening participants are encouraged to record their National Day of Listening interviews, using equipment that is readily available in most homes—from cell phones to tape recorders to computers or even pen and paper. StoryCorps has created a free Do-It-Yourself interview guide with equipment recommendations and interview instructions available online at

“The idea of listening during the holiday season has clearly resonated with people across the country,” says StoryCorps founder and MacArthur “Genius” Dave Isay. “The National Day of Listening, which coincides with Black Friday, provides a meaningful alternative to holiday consumerism and proves that simply listening to one another is the least expensive and most meaningful gift we can give.”

“Life review is an important activity that hospices use with the patients and families they care for at the end of life,” says J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO. “So StoryCorps’ National Day of Listening is something we strongly support and we’re pleased to be a national partner.”

To see how more people across the country are celebrating this year’s National Day of Listening, visit:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

New NHPCO Quality Resource Center Online

NHPCO is pleased to announce the launch of the Quality Resource Center web page. NHPCO, with assistance from the Quality and Standards Committee, has revised and enhanced its online quality resource offerings to better assist the hospice community to meet CMS quality reporting requirements, as well as to continue to build organizational excellence and improve hospice and palliative care delivery and outcomes.

The Quality Resource Center offers tools to assess and improve the quality of hospice care and services, information and resources for compliance with the new CMS quality reporting requirements, NHPCO’s Standards of Hospice Care, NHPCO Staffing Guidelines and QAPI Resources. The Resource Center also includes the NHPCO Quality Partners program resources and the Self-Assessment System.

Access the Quality Resource Center today to learn more.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Serious SuperCommittee Debrief and A Request for Your Help

The pressure is on the SuperCommittee to come up with a plan and we want to make sure that they know where we stand. NHPCO's Hospice Action Network shares an assessment of the situation. Our message will be so much more powerful if all hospice advocates could take a few minutes to call their Congressional offices with 5 important points for them to pass along to SuperCommittee Members.

Visit the HAN action center online for our SuperCommittee summary and to take action today!

Monday, November 7, 2011

NHF’s Run to Remember Had Record Number of Runners Raising Awareness and Support in October

At four national marathon events in October 2011, the National Hospice Foundation’s Run to Remember athletic fundraising program saw 168 runners raise more than $130,000 in support of hospice care.

October’s events began with runners traversing the Bourbon Trail for the third running of the Bourbon Chase Relay (Oct. 7 – 8) covering 200 miles amidst the hills of Kentucky. Eight teams of 12 athletes each were running on behalf of National Hospice Foundation’s Run to Remember.

As the Bourbon Chase teams crossed the finish line, they were greeted by 40 hospice volunteers from Lexington’s own Hospice of the Bluegrass proudly welcoming them in and thanking the team members who raised over $46,000.

The day after the Bourbon Chase, attention moved north to the Windy City for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, the second largest marathon in the country. A team of 12 marathoners participated in support of Run to Remember and raised more than $24,000 for hospice.

The Nationwide Insurance Columbus Marathon (10/21/11) enjoyed the special distinction of being this year’s National Hospice Foundation National Memorial Race, a new designation highlighting one marathon per year as a special hospice effort.

NHF Executive Director John Mastrojohn, III, was invited to help start the sold-out race in Columbus that brought 17,000 runners and walkers to Ohio. Staff and volunteers from six Columbus area hospice programs lined the route, cheering on runners and walkers, and showing their pride for hospice.

“The Columbus Marathon, our National Memorial Race, was an excellent example of how hospices benefit from Run to Remember, over and above the money that’s raised,” Mastrojohn remarked. “Our RTR team had more than 30 runners and walkers who brought in well over $10,000 but the amount of goodwill and awareness of hospice that was raised was immeasurable.”

The 36th annual Marine Corps Marathon (10/29/11) saw 21,250 runners following a 26-mile course through the nation’s capital and along the banks of the Potomac River. Runners came within a couple miles of the National Hospice Foundation’s home at the national Center for Care at the End of Life. Among them were 30 hospice heroes, proudly running under the banner of NHF’s Run to Remember program.

These athletes and hospice supporters gathered at a reception at the National Center the evening before the race. Even the evening before the race they had reason to celebrate, before the marathon began this RTR team had raised nearly $50,000 – a record for a RTR Marine Corps Marathon team.

Notable among the team were NHF Trustee Eleanor Blayney who raised $24,000 designated for NHF’s campaign for the National Center for Care at the End of Life as well as ultra-marathoner Jim Smith. Smith ran a “victory lap” at the Marine Corp Marathon, capping his series of endurance races this summer that raised more than $13,000 for We Honor Veterans – a pioneering program helping hospices better serve our nation’s Veterans at life’s end.

“Four marathons, 168 runners and untold number of hospice volunteers raised more than $130,000 for NHF’s Run to Remember. These are not only funds to support the critically important work hospice is doing to help those at the end of life’s journey but it raised awareness and helped fuel the passion we share for compassionate care,” added Mastrojohn.

To learn more about Run to Remember or make a donation in support of a specific runner, please visit

Friday, November 4, 2011

NHPCO 2012 Education Catalog

Download the 2012 Educational Catalog (PDF) and map out your 2012 professional development plan. NHPCO’s 2012 educational programming offers something for every staff person and volunteer in your organization – from seasoned clinicians, to new office staff. In addition to traditional “onsite” conferences, NHPCO offers Webinars, online learning courses and a virtual conference to ensure that all programs, regardless of size or geographic location, can afford to experience the highest caliber education.

The PDF is also available on the NHPCO Education landing page online.

Monday, October 31, 2011

“We Listen, We Care” is theme for November’s Month of Awarenes

NHPCO Stresses Importance of Hospice Access for All Americans during November’s National Hospice and Palliative Care Month

Amidst the outreach hospices are doing in communities across the country this November for National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization is emphasizing the importance of quality end-of-life care for all Americans, regardless of age, diagnoses or location of care.

NHPCO consumer research has found that eight out of 10 Americans would want to be cared for in their homes if facing a life-limiting illness. Hospice makes this happen; almost 70 percent of patients receive care in their place of residence. Whether it’s the family home, nursing home, residential facility, or hospice inpatient setting, hospice teams strive to reach all appropriate patients and families wherever compassionate end-of-life care is needed.

For example, one out of four Americans will die in a nursing home. A growing number of nursing home residents and their families are opting for hospice services. These patients often present complex issues, including neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, where prognoses are less certain. Multiple studies have shown that hospice significantly improves the quality of care these patients receive in nursing homes,

NHPCO continues to strongly advocate for availability of hospice care services in all settings including the nursing home. “Coping with a life-limiting illness is not easy. It’s about the most challenging thing a person will ever do,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO. “Think about a seriously ill person doing their best to communicate with doctors and hospitals, navigating the maze of care needs, figuring out insurance coverage, all in addition to helping his or her loved ones face the challenges of caregiving… it’s overwhelming.”

“We want to make sure that people know that help is available and that’s why National Hospice and Palliative Care Month is still so important after more than 35 years of observance. It is a time when efforts to educate and inform consumers and other health care practitioners are even more focused,” he added.

Hospice and palliative care providers take the time to talk with patients and family caregivers, listen to their concerns, and work to ensure they get the care they want.

Hospice care provides expert pain management, symptom control, psycho-social support and spiritual care to patients and families when a cure is not possible. All the necessary medicines and equipment needed to keep a patient comfortable are provided. And hospice is covered by Medicare, Medicaid in most states, and by most insurance plans and HMOs.

Palliative care brings these same skilled services earlier in the course of an illness and can be provided along with other treatments a patient may want to pursue. Many hospitals may have a palliative care program, yet many people don’t realize that hospices are the largest and most extensive network of providers offering palliative care services in the US.

More than 1.5 million people with a life-limiting illness get help from the nation’s hospice and palliative care providers every single year.

“It’s about quality of life. With the help of hospice and palliative care, patients and families can focus on what’s most important, living as fully as possible in spite of illness,” Schumacher said.

NHPCO’s Caring Connections offers free information and resources at or via the HelpLine at 800-658-8898.

Outreach Materials with the 2011 theme, We Listen, We Care! are available on NHPCO's Caring Connections website.

Friday, October 28, 2011

One Cause, Two Continents: Commit to a new friend in Africa

NHPCO's affiliate organization, FHSSA, counts its partnership initiative among its most valuable programs. The organization (originally known as the Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa) has successfully created more than 90 partnerships between US hospice programs and organizations providing care in 15 different African nations. Partners provide technical assistance, support and friendship. They are working collaboratively to expand access to hospice and palliative care services in sub-Saharan Africa, a region where the need is great and resources are few.

Yet, more than 20 African palliative care programs in 11 African nations are anxiously waiting to be matched with a US hospice program. It is estimated that these 20 African care providers serve more than 13,200 patients and 66,000 family members.

To meet this need, FHSSA has launched the campaign, One Cause, Two Continents: Commit to a new friend in Africa, at a special event in San Diego celebrating current partners.

In recognizing the accomplishments of current FHSSA partners, it was noted that in 2010 alone, partners in this country:

  • Sent $450,000 to African partners;
  • Donated $122,000 in medicines and supplies;
  • Supported nearly 3,000 staff and 4,000 volunteers who served 60,000 patients and 300,000 family members in African communities.

“Our current partners say over and over that becoming a partner was transformative for each staff member involved as well as for their program as a whole,” said J. Donald Schumacher, FHSSA president and CEO.

“By committing to a partnership in Africa a hospice in this country has the opportunity to broaden its vision of compassion, further its reach in the community it serves, and help a community in Africa,” Schumacher added.

For more information about the One Cause, Two Continents campaign, visit the FHSSA website.

FHSSA shares an article about the benefits of partnering that’s available online (PDF).

Hospices interested in partnering should contact:
Erinn Nanney

Monday, October 17, 2011

Coalition to Transform Advanced Care

Great news coming out this week – NHPCO is pleased to be part of a movement called C-TAC that aims to change the way our country handles advanced illness care by empowering consumers, changing the healthcare delivery system, improving public and private policies, and enhancing provider capacity.

Since 2004, NHPCO’s Caring Connections initiative,, has provided important information about advance care planning and issues relating to caregiving for those near life’s end and supports advancement of all efforts that would help people become better informed regarding care options and their wishes for care. Healthcare policy, professional education and consumer awareness are all critically important, yet, it ultimately comes down to the highest quality care at the bedside and NHPCO welcomes C-TAC on its mission to advance this care.

Read more about the organization, its mission, and the people behind it on the C-TAC website,

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dementia Patients Suffer Burdensome Transitions - New study in New England Journal of Medicine

Today’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine includes a study co-authored by NHPCO board member Joan Teno, MD. The study, with researchers from Harvard University and Dartmouth Medical School, found that one-fifth of Medicare nursing home patients with advanced Alzheimer's or other dementias were sent to hospitals or other nursing homes for questionable reasons in their final months, often enduring tube feeding and intensive care that prolonged their demise.

This study is receiving a good deal of media coverage. The abstract of the article is available on the NEJM website.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Volunteer Leadership is the Focus of NHPCO’s Virtual Conference Set for Summer 2012

NHPCO is pleased to announce the dates for a unique educational event focused on volunteerism. Ignite the Future is the theme for NHPCO’s Volunteer Leadership Virtual Conference being held July 30-August 3, 2012.

Hosted online, this educational program is exclusively focused on the art and science of hospice volunteerism. This virtual conference will offer all the benefits of an in-person conference without the added time and expense of travel. Highlights include:

· Live-broadcast plenary sessions featuring national speakers.

· Specific sessions for both new and seasoned volunteer leaders/managers.

· Specific day, August 2, dedicated to Volunteers affording them the opportunity to enhance their skills and participate in a national hospice event.

· Poster presentations and an exhibit hall online.

· Real-time networking in easy-to-use chat rooms.

Being introduced for the first time at an NHPCO conference are IGNITE! Sessions – a new presentation format gaining popularity with many educational institutions. Each of the IGNITE! Sessions will last exactly 5 minutes long with presenters focusing on a single, simple and innovative message that shares personal and professional passions or unique strategies and approaches.

Registration fees for this virtual event are based on the number of Internet connections that your organization uses to access the content. In order to ensure that programs of all size are able to participate, NHPCO has created a sliding-fee scale based on a program’s 2010 Annual Patient Census (which is also used to calculate provider organization’s NHPCO dues).

Visit the conference webpage to learn more and be sure to save the dates to attend this virtual event.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Message from Don Schumacher on the Anniversary of 9-11

As we approach the tenth anniversary of 9-11 this weekend, many hospices are hosting events to help their communities deal with the memories of that tragic day. While we reflect on this day that profoundly changed our nation, there are other communities across the country coping with destruction resulting from recent flooding, hurricanes, wildfires and other life-altering events. Whether you are remembering the legacy of September 11 or facing more recent tragedies let me share the pride that I feel from being a part of the hospice and palliative care community. I continue to be inspired by lessons of strength and resilience that I learn from you all. During the upcoming weekend, take time to acknowledge those you love and the community you are a part of.

Don Schumacher
NHPCO President & CEO

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Choosing a Quality Hospice - a new resource from NHPCO

Free Resource Helps Patients & Families Choose a Quality Hospice

When a loved one is diagnosed with a serious or life-limiting illness, the questions facing an individual or a family can be overwhelming. Hospices provide invaluable support and expert care to help people through this challenging time. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has released a new, free worksheet that walks individuals through questions to guide the process of finding the best hospice for their unique needs.

With multiple hospices serving some communities, it can seem challenging to select one. NHPCO suggests the best way to begin is by reaching out to the hospice providers in your community to find the one best equipped to meet your family’s specific needs. The new worksheet, Choosing a Quality Hospice, will help.

“Choosing a hospice to care for yourself or a loved one in the final days and months of life is such an important and stressful process,” said J. Donald Schumacher NHPCO president and CEO. “Each hospice offers unique services and partners with specific community providers – so it’s important to call the hospices in your area and ask them questions to find the one with the services and support that are right for you.”

Schumacher continued, “Your doctor or a family friend may suggest one or more local hospices, however, the patient and family make the ultimate decision about which hospice they choose.”

Caring Connections, a program of NHPCO, has developed a worksheet that provides suggested questions to ask a hospice when you contact them.

· Is the hospice Medicare certified?

· When was the last state or federal survey of the program?

· Is the hospice a member of NHPCO and its Quality Partners Initiative?

· What extra services does the hospice provide?

· What services do volunteers offer?

· What options are available if a person needs in-patient care in a facility?

Another significant question is when to actually begin hospice care. Every family can decide when to begin hospice, however, professionals encourage people to learn about care options long before they think they may need them.

“If a family doesn’t feel ready for hospice, they should ask about palliative care that brings the same team approach to quality care earlier in the course of a serious illness. America’s hospices are the largest providers of palliative care and no one is better trained at helping people who need expert pain and symptom management as well as support for family members caring for a loved one. Hospice helps individuals with a life-limiting illness live as fully as possible for as long as possible,” Schumacher added.

Download the free Choosing a Quality Hospice worksheet from Caring Connections ( ),

To find out which hospices serve your community, call NHPCO’s HelpLine at 1-800-658-8898 or visit