Tuesday, November 27, 2012

35.7 Percent of Hospice Patients Die or Were Discharged within 7 Days

A record number of dying persons in the U.S. – an estimated 1.65 million patients – received care from the nation’s hospices in 2011, reports the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
Approximately 44.6 percent of all deaths in the U.S. were under the care of a hospice program. This is up from 41.9 percent in 2010.

While there is an increase in the number of patients cared for, NHPCO reports that 35.7 percent died or were discharged within seven days of admission, up from 35.3 percent in 2010.

“We continue to see more dying Americans opting for hospice care at the end of their lives, yet far too many receive care for a week or less,” said J. Donald Schumacher, PsyD, NHPCO president and CEO. “We need to reach patients earlier in the course of their illness to ensure they receive the full benefits that hospice and palliative care can offer.”  

NHPCO’s annual publication, Facts and Figures: Hospice Care in America (PDF) reports on hospice trends and provides updated information on the growth, delivery, and quality of hospice care in the U.S.

Schumacher added, “In recent years regulators have been focused on long-length patients (11.4 percent received care for 180 or more days) and while it is understandable that they are interested in the long-length statistic, we should not overlook the fact that far too many people receive care for too short a time.”

Earlier access to hospice care can reduce emergency room visits and hospitalizations; additionally, quality of life for patients and family caregivers can be improved.
Research has shown that eight out of 10 Americans would prefer to be at home at the end of life, and hospice can make this happen.

NHPCO continues to stress the importance of having healthcare providers discuss hospice palliative care as an option for patients coping with a serious or life-limiting illness. Similarly, NHPCO encourages patients and family caregivers to ask their health care providers about the benefits hospice might offer.

“There’s a common misconception that hospice care is giving up,” said Schumacher. “Nothing could be farther from the truth. Hospice provides high quality medical care and services from an interdisciplinary team of professionals and trained volunteers that maximizes quality of life and makes the wishes of the patient a priority.”

Usage of hospice has doubled in the past decade due in part to providers learning to care for a wider range of patients with more complex diagnoses such as dementia, heart disease, lung disease and more. This growth reflects the expertise of hospice providers in caring for dying Americans who need quality end-of-life care, reports NHPCO.

Facts and Figures: Hospice Care in America (PDF) is available in the News Room section of NHPCO’s website, nhpco.org/newsroom.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Twelve Tips to Help a Grieving Loved One during the Holidays

The holidays are quickly approaching, and while many people look forward to yearly traditions, gatherings with family and friends and the general good feelings associated with the season, some people dread the holidays.

NHPCO offers twelve practical tips from hospice professionals:
1. Be supportive of the way the person chooses to handle the holidays. Some may wish to follow traditions; others may choose to change their rituals. Remember, there is no right way or wrong way to handle the holidays.
2. Offer to help the person with baking and/or cleaning. Both tasks can be overwhelming when someone is experiencing acute grief.
3. Offer to help him or her decorate for the holidays.
4. Offer to help with holiday shopping or give your loved one catalogs or suggest online shopping sites that may be helpful.
5. Help your loved one prepare and mail holiday cards.
6. Invite the person to attend a religious service with you and your family.
7. Invite your loved one to your home for the holidays.
8. Ask the person if he or she is interested in volunteering with you during the holiday season. Doing something for someone else, such as helping at soup kitchens or working with children, may help your loved one feel better about the holidays.
9. Donate a gift or money in memory of the person’s loved one. Remind the person that his or her special person is not forgotten.
10. Never tell someone that he or she should be “over it.”  Instead, give the person hope that, eventually, he or she will enjoy the holidays again.
11. If he or she wants to talk about the deceased loved one or feelings associated with the loss, LISTEN. Active listening from friends is an important step to helping him or her heal. Don’t worry about being conversational…. just listen.
12. Remind the person you are thinking of him or her and the loved one who died. Cards, phone calls and visits are great ways to stay in touch.
In general, the best way to help those who are grieving during the holidays is to let them know you care. They need to be remembered, and they need to know their loved ones are remembered, too.

More information about grief and loss is available from NHPCO’s Caring Connections at www.CaringInfo.org.

Friday, November 9, 2012

NHPCO Presents Awards Celebrating Hospice Palliative Care

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization bosted its 13th annual Clinical Team Conference and Pediatric Intensive this week in Orlando, Florida. More than 1,200 professionals gathered at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel. Throughout the week, NHPCO presented a number of awards celebrating outstanding contributions to hospice and palliative care.

Distinguished Researcher Award
Holly G. Prigerson, PhD, was presented with the NHPCO Distinguished Researcher Award created to recognize an outstanding body of research that has contributed to the enhancement of hospice and palliative care.

Prigerson is internationally known for her work on bereavement and end-of-life care. She is Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the Director of the Center for Psycho-Oncology and Palliative Care Research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Much of Prigerson’s research has been on psychosocial factors that influence the quality of life and care received by terminally ill patients, and factors influencing family caregivers both before and after the death of a loved one.  

Volunteers are the Foundation of Hospice Award
This award recognizes exemplary hospice volunteers in three categories of service: Patient/Family Support; Organizational Support; and Teen Service. The volunteers selected for this recognition best reflect the universal concept of volunteerism in its truest sense: Serving as an inspiration to others.
The 2012 award recipients and their specific areas of service:
  • Chuck Mirasola, a volunteer with the Hospice and Palliative Care Unit at Florida’s Bay Pines VA for “Patient/Family Support.” He has given more than 12,500 hours of volunteer service to the Bay Pines VA, with eight years of service to patients and families on the Hospice and Palliative Care Unit.
  • Richard W. Jett, Jr, CPA, a volunteer with Hospice of East Texas in Tyler for “Organizational Support.” He has been a volunteer for 30 consecutive years – without interruption of service to the hospice. This includes three terms as a board member and one term as board chair.
  • Deanna Wright, a volunteer with Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado in Grand Junction for “Teen Service.” She began her service with hospice at the age of 12 and has been a dedicated volunteer involved in many aspects of the organization for the past six years.

Advancing End-of-life Care Access Award
As part of its efforts to recognize the important work of caring for Veterans, NHPCO presented its inaugural Advancing End-of-life Care Access Award to VITAS Innovative Hospice Care of Dayton.

VITAS of Dayton began its Veterans initiative three and a half years ago to ensure that information about hospice is readily available to Veterans and their families that are facing serious and life-limiting illness. VITAS Innovative Hospice Care of Dayton is a Level IV Partner in the We Honor Veterans program – the highest level a hospice can attain.

“One of the most important things we can do is shine a light on individuals and organizations in the hospice palliative care community who are advancing the field of  hospice and palliative care,” said NHPCO President and CEO J. Donald Schumacher.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

National Hospice Month Proclamation 2012

Hospice Palliative Care Offers: Comfort. Love. Respect.

As the nation’s oldest and largest leadership association representing hospice and palliative care providers and professionals, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization issues the following proclamation declaring November 2012 as National Hospice and Palliative Care Month.

WHEREAS, every year more than 1.58 million Americans living with life-limiting illness, and their families, receive care from the nation’s hospice programs in communities throughout the United States;

WHEREAS, hospice and palliative care offer the highest quality of care to patients and families and bring comfort, love and respect to all those they serve;

WHEREAS, hospice allows people to spend their final months surrounded by family and loved ones at home – wherever home may be;

WHEREAS,  hospice and palliative care professionals—including physicians, nurses, social workers, therapists, counselors, health aides, and clergy—providing comprehensive and compassionate care that make the wishes of each patient and family a priority;

WHEREAS, more than 468,000 trained volunteers contribute 21 million hours of service to hospice program annually;

WHEREAS, through pain management and symptom control, caregiver training and assistance, and emotional and spiritual support, patients are able to live as fully as possible through the journey at life’s end;

WHEREAS, the commitment of more than 1,600 hospice providers, NHPCO and the Department of Veterans Affairs have allowed the innovative program, We Honor Veterans, to thrive and ensure that Veterans find the compassion, care and dignity they deserve at the end of life;

WHEREAS, the provision of quality hospice and palliative care reaffirms our belief in the essential dignity of every person, regardless of age, health, or social status, and that every stage of human life deserves to be treated with the utmost respect and care;

NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that the leadership of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization do hereby proclaim November 2012 as National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and encourage all people to learn more about options of care and to share their wishes with family, loved ones, and their healthcare professionals.

More information about hospice month is available at www.CaringInfo.org/hospicemonth.
NHPCO Members will find outreach materials online at www.nhpco.org/outreach.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Comfort, Love and Respect that Hospice Offers is Focus of November’s National Hospice and Palliative Care Month

“Comfort. Love. Respect.” 2012 Theme Inspired by Actress and Hospice Advocate Torrey DeVitto
Every year, more than 1.58 million people living with a life-limiting illness receive care from hospice palliative care providers in the U.S., reports the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. During National Hospice and Palliative Care Month this November, providers across the country are raising awareness of the many benefits of hospice palliative care.

More than traditional medical care
Hospice palliative care provides expert pain management, symptom control, emotional support, and spiritual care to patients and family caregivers when a cure is not possible. Care is provided by a highly trained team of professionals and volunteers.

Most hospice care in the U.S. is provided in the home – allowing people to be with their families and loved ones in comfortable surroundings at the end of life.

Research by NHPCO has found that 94 percent of families who had a loved one cared for by hospice rated the care as very good to excellent.

 Hospice makes sure that people receive comfort, love and respect during one of life’s most significant experiences – the journey at life’s end,” said J. Donald Schumacher,PsyD, president and CEO of NHPCO. “The compassionate way that hospice helps maximize the quality of life is at the center of this year’s hospice month theme.”

DeVitto creates theme
The 2012 outreach theme for National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, “Comfort. Love. Respect.” is based on the firsthand experience of actress and NHPCO Hospice Ambassador Torrey DeVitto who created the phrase for a t-shirt she designed for NHPCO and the National Hospice Foundation earlier this year.
DeVitto, widely recognized for her roles on the hit television series “The Vampire Diaries” and “Pretty Little Liars” has been a hospice volunteer for five years and became NHPCO’s ambassador in 2011.

“As a hospice volunteer myself, I’ve seen firsthand how dedicated individuals provide companionship, support, and a shoulder to lean on at a time when it’s needed most,” remarked DeVitto. “I’m working to help younger people understand the value of hospice and hopefully to get involved as volunteers with their local hospices.”
Information about hospice, palliative care, and advance care planning is available from NHPCO’s Caring Connections at www.caringinfo.org or by calling the HelpLine at 800-658-8898.
Resources for outreach

    The “Comfort. Love. Respect.” t-shirt designed by Torrey DeVitto is available for purchase from the NHPCO Marketplace www.nhpco.org/Marketplace  or by calling 1-800-646-6460.  All proceeds from the t-shirt sales benefit national hospice outreach efforts.
    Hospice Ambassador Torrey DeVitto.

    Monday, September 24, 2012

    NHPCO Partner on Choosing Wisely Campaign

    The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) has joined the list of consumer communication partners for Choosing Wisely®, a national campaign launched in April by the ABIM Foundation and Consumer Reports promoting informed healthcare decision making.

    The goal of Choosing Wisely is to promote conversations between physicians and patients about utilizing the most appropriate tests and treatments and avoiding care that is unnecessary.

    In April nine leading medical specialty societies announced lists of “Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question”. Since then, 20 additional specialty societies, including the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, have joined with the ABIM Foundation to develop evidence-based lists of tests and procedures physicians and patients should talk about for various medical conditions. These lists will be announced in early 2013.

    Consumer Reports is spearheading efforts to translate this critical healthcare information for consumers and is working with many other consumer and healthcare groups, such as NHPCO, to disseminate the information using patient-friendly language.

    "Consumer Reports is very excited that NHPCO is promoting patient education and helping to improve patient relationships with physicians as part of the Choosing Wisely campaign. The campaign is a great way to help get these important messages about appropriate use of medical tests, treatments, and procedures out to a diverse population, and we are pleased that they will be partnering with us in this initiative," said John Santa, MD, MPH, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center.

    For more information on Choosing Wisely, visit: www.consumerhealthchoices.org/campaigns/choosing-wisely or www.choosingwisely.org.

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012

    NHPCO Announces Mary J. Labyak Institute for Innovation

    The National Center for Care at the End of Life Will be Home to the New Mary J. Labyak Institute for Innovation

    Institute Will Focus on Making a Powerful Difference in End-of-Life Care through Education, Leadership, and Outreach

    As part of its mission to lead and mobilize social change for improved care at the end of life,  NHPCO has announced the creation of the Mary J.Labyak Institute for Innovation.
    The Institute, which is named after the late hospice pioneer, Mary J. Labyak, is designed to continue her legacy of listening, learning and innovating.
    Labyak, who passed away in February 2012, was one of the most widely recognized innovators working on behalf of hospice and palliative care in the U.S. The Institute bearing her name will continue her work by developing and promoting new strategies to ensure the best possible care for patients and families—and by always keeping the needs of patients and families at the center of hospice care.
     “More than 40 years ago, innovators such as Mary took the core of an idea and built the foundation upon which today’s hospice and palliative care providers serve millions of patients and families each year,” said J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of NHPCO. “With the creation of this Institute, we take a giant step forward in ensuring that the innovation that changed the health care landscape so many years ago continues to improve the quality of health care delivered today.”
    The Institute is a part of the National Center for Care at the End of Life which also houses NHPCO and three affiliate organizations.
    The Institute is comprised of 10 Centers that will work collaboratively to advance the care continuum through education, leadership, and resource dissemination. Each Center will determine gaps in practice, identify resources, and develop and disseminate tools to deliver the best possible care to patients and families. The 10 Centers are:

    ·         Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care

    ·         Clinical Excellence

    ·         Consumer and Caregiver Engagement

    ·         Ethical Practice

    ·         Expanding the Continuum

    ·         Grief and Bereavement

    ·         Leadership Development

    ·         Organizational Excellence

    ·         Spiritual Care

    ·         Veterans’ Care

    The Institute was started with seed funding from Mary Labyak’s estate and memorial gifts in her honor, as well as an investment by NHPCO. The National Hospice Foundation, the philanthropic affiliate of NHPCO, is seeking additional support for the Institute and its work.

    For more information on the Mary J. Labyak Institute for Innovation, visit nhpco.org/Innovation.

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

    NHPCO Hospice Action Network on Sequestration - "Fiscal Cliff"

    Congress returns to Washington today for a few short weeks of work prior to an election recess scheduled to begin in October.  There are a few “must-do” items they need to address during September, but the majority of legislative activity will be punted until after the November elections.  Despite this delayed legislative timeline, political posturing and public debate on the “fiscal cliff” has already begun and is expected to kick into high gear with this week’s anticipated report from the Obama Administration on their plans for the implementation of sequestration.

    Have questions regarding the “fiscal cliff” and/or sequestration?  Wondering what they even are and how they might affect hospice?  NHPCO's Office of Public Policy has prepared an in-depth analysis for you to be “in the know” before these issues start moving on the Hill. 

    Whatever the turnout of the elections, or the Administration’s implementation plan, NHPCO and the Hospice Action Network have been working for months to educate key policy makers on how these huge economic packages could impact access to high-quality, compassionate end-of-life care throughout the nation.  You’ll be hearing more about these efforts and how you can get involved in the coming days and weeks.  In the meantime, this briefing paper gives you just enough information to be prepared for the future – in your program, and as a Hospice Advocate. 

    The issues surrounding the “fiscal cliff” are complex and there are many moving parts.  We invite you to download our issue brief, "Policy Analysis: The Fiscal Cliff."

    Friday, August 10, 2012

    Hospice Advocacy Efforts - August Offers Some Opportunity

    Bobbe Donsbach, a patient care coordinator, attended—making the long trip from Lewistown, Montana. Amanda Dunnem, a hospice aide from Buchanan, Michigan, also attended, as did David Isom, a hospice director from St. George, Utah, and Carrie Landau, an RN case manager from Tucson, Arizona. There were 180 attendees in all, and 75 percent of them were hospice staff and caregivers who provide care at the bedside.

    The event was the Advocacy Intensive held here in Washington on June 18 and 19. It was a strategic effort, organized by NHPCO and HAN, to cut through the noise and get our message heard on Capitol Hill during this particularly vocal election year.

    Our goal was to convene a small but diverse group who could share the stories of hospice care that would resonate beyond the usual rhetoric. And as I shared in last month’s NewsLine message, we could not have asked for better representation.

    The attendees met with 250 Congressional offices, including influential members of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. Both the hospice staff and many members of Congress came away from these meetings knowing more—and eager to do more.

     Among the most significant was the meeting between Bobbe Donsbach and Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), chair of the Senate Finance Committee. It was the first time that Senator Baucus met directly with a member of the hospice IDG in his Capitol Hill office, and  quite telling that he spent a half hour with just one constituent.

    While this event was clearly a success, the month of August is an opportune time for all members of the hospice community to build on that success. Members of Congress will be in their home states and many will be quite willing to visit the hospices in their area. This is vitally important because seeing is believing.

    If you are intimidated or hesitant about reaching out, please don’t be! Just as HAN staff supported the attendees of the Intensive, they are also here to support you. As a start, please see the resources they’ve developed—Free Basic Advocacy Training, Tip Sheets, an In-district Advocacy Toolkit, and more. You can then email them with specific questions.

     Please join us in this advocacy work! 

    Friday, June 22, 2012

    Call for Proposals for 2013 MLC is Open

    Proposals are being sought to present at NHPCO's 28th Managment and Leadership Conference: Cutting Edge of the Care Continuum, April 25-27, 2013. The Call for Proposals is NOW OPEN through Friday, July 20, 2012 at 11:59pm (EST)
    The 2013 MLC will stimulate cutting-edge thinking and highlight innovation by showcasing a variety of healthcare providers that have successfully implemented continuum services and programs to improve the access and quality of patient care and services. By offering participants unparalleled access to thought leaders and hospice and palliative care experts, the MLC will equip participants with ideas, strategies and tools to lead (not follow) the development and expansion of the care continuum.

    Learn more about the conference focus on the Call for Proposals web page: http://nhpco.confex.com/nhpco/MLC13/cfp.cgi.

    Thursday, June 7, 2012

    Ladies Home Journal follows a Hospice Nurse

    Ladies Home Journal follows a hospice nurse from Gilchrist Hospice in an amazing article in the July 2012 issue, "It Doesn't Have to be Sad: The Life of a Hospice Nurse."

    Do not miss the photo essay linked in the article, http://www.lhj.com/community/your-stories/hospice-nurse/.

    Thank you to Gilchrist Hospice for representing the field so well! Gilchrist is a Circle of Life Award winner - that's what drew attention to the work they are doing. NHPCO communications team also worked with the journalist on this piece as well and are pleased to see awareness about hospice care in such an important publication with a wide reach.

    (article URL: http://www.lhj.com/community/your-stories/hospice-nurse/ )

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Memorial Day is a Time of Remembrance

    Memorial Day is Monday, May 28. For many Americans, this day marks the beginning of summer. Yet, Memorial Day has a much more significant meaning. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, an organization familiar with the issues involved in loss and grief, offers some thoughts to consider as America celebrates this important holiday.

    In addition to the festive events of the day, such as picnics, concerts and parades, Memorial Day provides an opportunity to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our nation. It allows us to show support to the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives in defense of freedom and our country.

    In recent years, Americans serving in conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have been lost. For their families and loved ones – who may be our neighbors, friends and coworkers – grief may be fresh and painful. Memorial Day is a time we should reach out and comfort them and let them know that we recognize and honor the sacrifice their loved one has made.

    Additionally, this day of remembrance is particularly meaningful to our nation’s Veterans who, amidst Memorial Day activities, deserve support and recognition of their service and the losses they may have experienced.

    U.S. Veterans may be mourning brothers and sisters in arms who were lost during World War II, Korea, or Vietnam.  Past traumatic memories and losses are often rekindled. This is a natural part of grieving and calls for our compassion and support.

    Hospice organizations throughout the country are answering the call to serve our Veterans through NHPCO’s We Honor Veterans initiative. They know that supporting those around us can be as simple as lending an ear or holding a hand.

    Additionally, hospice and palliative care professionals, who deal with loss on a daily basis, remind us that sharing the range of thoughts, emotions and reactions we experience is important. Whether it is pride or shame, grief or hope, fear or fatigue, it is healthy to acknowledge what we are feeling.

    In supporting those who are grieving – whether it is a recent loss or one from years past – we honor those who have sacrificed so much.

    NHPCO’s Caring Connections offers information about grief at www.caringinfo.org/grief.

    Monday, May 14, 2012

    What about Schools? Creating Systems to Support Children, Families, and Communities

    NHPCO invites you to share the May 2012 issue of our ChiPPS E-newsletter offering a PDF collection of articles that explore some issues involving schools and the role of pediatric palliative and hospice care in creating systems to support children, families, and the community. The goal in this edition of the newsletter is to help encourage a dialogue with educators and school personnel to help them to work more closely and more effectively with providers of pediatric palliative and hospice care to meet the complex needs of children with life-threatening or life-limiting diseases and their family members.
    ChiPPS is NHPCO's pediatric workgroup and we invite you to share the May 2012 e-newsletter and look over other resources available at nhpco.org/peditarics.

    Thank you to all those who contributed articles to this edition of the newsletter.

    Thursday, May 3, 2012

    Reaffirming Hospice through a New National Campaign Begun by NHPCO

    The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has contracted with Hill + Knowlton Strategies to develop and launch a “Reaffirming Hospice Campaign.” This national campaign will reinforce the vital importance and quality of hospice to policy makers, healthcare professionals, and baby boomers.

    This one-year campaign begins later this month with a qualitative research phase and focus groups. The campaign will then move on to quantitative research, campaign development and execution over the subsequent several months. The first phase of the campaign will help policy makers gain a thorough understanding of the complex issues surrounding hospice care delivery, so decisions made are both fiscally sound and programmatically correct. The second phase will focus on motivating healthcare professionals to refer to hospice earlier while motivating consumers to request it.
    Read NHPCO's press release online.

    Monday, April 30, 2012

    Free Teleconference - "A Life of Service"

    Service rests on the basic premise that all life is intimately connected and interdependent. The impulse to serve emerges naturally and inevitably from this way of seeing.
    Metta Institute and NHPCO present a free teleconference, “A Life of Service," on Tuesday, May 8, from 3:00-4:00pm ET, and will be taught by Rachel Naomi Remen MD and Frank Ostaseski. Please join us for the free, special offering.

    Register online: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=4ctiab44&oeidk=a07e5uw708cf7508867&goback=%2Egmp_1908528%2Egde_1908528_member_111670708.

    Friday, April 27, 2012

    NHPCO Affiliate, FHSSA, Receives $1/2 Million Grant to Build Capacity in Palliative Care in Sub-Saharan Africa

    Efforts to improve the quality and availability of palliative care services in Africa received a major funding boost this week. The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund announced today that it has approved a grant in the amount of $499,861 for FHSSA (originally known as the Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa) to further its work in improving palliative care in Africa.

    The grant will allow FHSSA to make significant advancements in palliative care education and training in Africa. The focus of the funding will be to: establish a network of mentors, develop centers of excellence for clinical placement, finalize standard clinical guidelines, establish sound training practices and a network of trainers for palliative care.

    The countries of focus for the grant are Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. FHSSA will work in close collaboration with the African Palliative Care Association (APCA), and other programs contributing to palliative care in Africa to meet the goals of the grant.

    “This grant will make a significant difference in our ability to strengthen the knowledge base of palliative care in Africa,” said John Mastrojohn III, executive director of FHSSA. “The effects of a sound mentoring and training program will improve end of life care in these countries for decades to come.”

    The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund has been a leading donor and advocate for palliative care in sub-Saharan Africa since 2001,committing more than £13 million towards integrating palliative care into national health systems and ensuring it is available to all those with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-limiting illnesses who need it. It selected FHSSA to further its mission because of the FHSSA’s experience and success in improving the quality and access to palliative care services in the region and for its network of partners across the continent.

    “Education and training is vital to the development and sustainability of palliative care and has been central to our work’, says Olivia Dix, Head of the Fund’s Palliative Care Initiative.“In the Fund’s final year of operation, I am delighted that we are supporting an organization with FHSSA’s skills, commitment and networks to develop the education programme further.”

    FHSSA will begin work on the grant immediately.

    Monday, April 16, 2012

    NHPCO Celebrates Hospice Volunteers

    Appreciation goes out to all hospice and palliative care volunteers during National Volunteer Week, April 15 – 21

    Thirty years ago, the legislation creating the Medicare hospice benefit was passed, enabling tens of millions of Americans to avail themselves of the highest quality care at life’s end from the nation’s dedicated hospice community. Additionally, this federal legislation created one of the most compassionate corps of trained volunteers seen anywhere in the healthcare community.

    In recognition of National Volunteer Week, April 15-21, 2012, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, the National Hospice Foundation, FHSSA, and the Hospice Action Network are honoring the hospice and palliative care volunteers who bring compassion, support and dignity to those facing a serious, life-limiting illness.

    NHPCO reports that in 2012, an estimated 458,000 hospice volunteers provided more than 21 million hours of service to hospice programs.

    NHPCO would like to share a slide show presentation posted on YouTube honoring the work of volunteers with photos provided by our members.

    Our deep appreciation goes out to every hospice and palliative care volunteer, not just this week but every week of the year.

    Monday, April 9, 2012

    National Healthcare Decisions Day - April 16

    In honor of National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD), April 16, I’m sharing a guest post, by Nathan Kottkamp, Founder and Chair of NHDD. I hope it will inspire you to think about the conversations we should all be having with our own loved ones about an uncomfortable but important topic – planning for when we die.

    Are you one of the 80% of Americans who haven’t completed an Advanced Directive yet? We’ve all struggled with how to get started on this topic – and there are plenty of reasons why we resist:

    • Fear
    • Uncertainty
    • Not sure how to start
    • Don’t know what’s legally binding
    • Worried I’ll hurt someone’s feelings
    • Just haven’t had the time to do it

    That’s why we recognize April 16 as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) – a movement designed to inspire, educate, and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. Put another way, NHDD is a day for all adults to mark their calendars, have the talk, and document the talk with an advance directive.

    Regardless of your own reasons not acting already, you might find your way to start the conversation by watching this awesome three and a half minute video at www.nhdd.org. It’s proof that it takes only a few minutes to start a conversation with your loved ones about advance care planning—a conversation that affects people for a lifetime.

    After the goosebumps settle down from watching the video, here are some specific things you can do for NHDD:

    • Lead by example. Schedule time with your loved ones (on or before April 16) to “Have the Talk” and complete your own advance directive. There are many tools, including free forms, you can use to walk you through the process and make your wishes known; access them through the NHDD Public Resources page.
    • Encourage your loved ones and friends to learn more about advance directives and to complete their advance directives. You can forward this link: www.nhdd.org.
    • Share your advance directive with your healthcare providers and make sure it is on file in the event it is needed.
    • Like the NHDD Facebook fan page and share it with your Facebook friends
    • On Twitter? Follow @NHDD and share the information with your followers, such as: Just 5 days to #NHDD, when will you have the talk? @NHDD can help: www.nhdd.org

    Please use and share the resources available through the NHDD website and encourage and empower us all to make our healthcare decisions now for whenever they will need to be known.

    Nathan Kottkamp
    Founder and Chair
    National Healthcare Decisions Day