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:

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 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:
  • 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:

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