Monday, December 14, 2015

Dealing with grief & loss during the holiday

Many people are greatly affected by ongoing media coverage of national and international tragedies that have played out in recent weeks, just ahead of the holidays. And for those individuals who are grieving the death of a loved one, the holiday season can also be a particularly painful time. 

Hospice professionals, who are experts in helping people deal with feelings of loss and grief, recognize how difficult the holidays can be for some. NHPCO offers helpful suggestions as the holiday season moves forward.

1. Be understanding and supportive if someone wants to do things differently this holiday season.  Some people find strength in long established traditions while others may choose to avoid customs of the past and do something new. It’s okay to do things differently.

2. Offer to help with decorating or holiday cooking. Both tasks can be overwhelming for someone who is grieving or overwhelmed by events going on in the world around us. Lending a hand can be a great way to let someone know you’re thinking about them and their wellbeing.

3. Invite someone to join you or your family during the holidays.  If someone you know seems down or depressed, consider inviting them to join you for a holiday concert, religious service or a holiday meal where they are a guest. You might even offer to accompany them on a holiday shopping trip where a friend and extra set of hands can be helpful.

4. Ask the person if he or she is interested in volunteering with you during the holidays. Doing something for someone else, such as helping at a soup kitchen, staffing a coat drive, or working with children, may lift your spirits and help everyone feel better about the holidays.

5. Never tell someone that he or she should get ‘over it.’  It can be important to acknowledge that a friend or loved one is struggling. Don’t discount their emotions, but give the person hope that, eventually, he or she will enjoy the holidays again.

6. Be willing to listen.  Don’t avoid someone because you don’t know what to say. Active listening from friends and family is an important step to helping someone coping with grief or overwhelming feelings of loss. Letting them share their feelings can help healing.

7. Don’t be afraid to remember someone who has died.  When someone is grieving, it is okay to let them know that you are thinking of the loved one who died. Cards, phone calls and visits are great ways to stay in touch.

8. Follow up after the holidays to check in.  Given the activity of the season, some people may make it through the holidays without any issues but they might find the post-holiday period to be more difficult. So circling back after the holidays to see how he or she is doing can help.
Many hospice and palliative care programs throughout the country host seasonal events for the community that bring feelings of peace and goodwill such as the Festival of Trees, an annual event from Hospice & Community Care in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Carrying Hospice Messages to New Audiences

In recent weeks, millions of people have had the opportunity to learn more about hospice and palliative care through outreach and efforts of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and National Hospice Foundation.

American Airlines - Travelers in business and first-class on American Airlines will see a short film that may challenge everything they think they know about hospice care.  The new video portrays the meaningful moments that can still happen, despite a life-limiting serious or terminal illness and shatters the myth that choosing hospice is “giving up.”  The video shows real hospice patients from across the U.S. who kept on living fully and cherishing special moments spent with family and friends. 

Hospice video on American Airlines

The film will be broadcast to approximately a quarter-million travelers this fall, on more than 5,800 American Airlines video-equipped flights. It will also be shared via the National Hospice Foundation and social media sources to help people understand the many benefits of hospice and palliative care.

Costco Members - NHPCO worked with the editor of Costco’s member publication, Costco Connection, sharing information about hospice care in the November issue’s Health Calendar column. November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and the Costco Connection health tip provided key messages about hospice care.

The online version of the November Costco Connection includes a link to an educational video “What is Hospice?”  It addresses common questions many people have, including: “When is it time for hospice?” and “How can hospice help a patient and family?”

To learn more about hospice and palliative care or to find a provider in your area, visit the Moments of Life website.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Understanding Palliative Care

"Deadra's Story" a new video about the ways palliative care changed one woman’s life has been released as part of NHPCO's Moments of Life: Made Possible by Hospice campaign.

In May of 2014, Deadra Gladden was in the hospital, feeling hopeless, and in excruciating pain due to lupus, a disease she has been battling for over half her young life. Deadra’s doctors told her family it was time to call hospice. But after a consult with a nurse from Samaritan Healthcare and Hospice, a palliative care team was brought in instead. In the new video, viewers get a glimpse at how much Deadra’s life has improved because of palliative care.

Palliative care, sometimes referred to as “comfort care,” is a specialized approach to the treatment of patients with a serious or life-threatening illness. The goal of palliative care is to provide relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of serious illness. It is also designed to improve the quality of life of both the patient and the patient’s family.   Patients can continue to receive aggressive and curative kinds of treatment like chemotherapy, radiation, dialysis and surgery while receiving palliative care.

Learn more about palliative care on the Moments of Life website.

Monday, November 16, 2015

DC Media Focuses on Care of Dying Veterans

Across the nation, attention turned to U.S. military Veterans on November 11, a day of annual remembrance and appreciation for those who have served our country. In the Washington, DC area, two prominent media outlets featured stories about the We Honor Veterans initiative and the work hospices are doing to care for Veterans.

Hospices are dedicated to making sure that Veterans under their care receive the acknowledgment and support they need at life's end.

On station WJLA's morning's broadcast of "Good Morning Washington" –  the ABC affiliate in DC – news journalist Autria Godfrey interviewed former Lieutenant Colonel Dave Benhoff, a former Marine who has continued his service to others as the Veterans Coordinator at Virginia's Heartland Hospice.

Benhoff was accompanied by his therapy dog, Nikita, and he spoke about the ways that he and Nikita support Veterans who are receiving care from Heartland Hospice. (A video, “Nikita’s Mission,” is available on the Moments of Life: Made Possible by Hospice website.)

That same day, on WUSA Channel 9's "Great Day Washington" broadcast, Benhoff was joined by Dr. Scott Shreve, National Director for Hospice and Palliative Care for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Shreve and Benhoff spoke about some of the unique needs that Veterans have at the end of life and the ways that the We Honor Veterans initiative, an innovative project developed five years ago by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has improved care for dying Veterans.

Currently, one out of four dying Americans has served in the military. Most served during World War II, the Korean War or the Vietnam War.  For many combat Veterans, difficult situations faced during their military service can come back and be difficult to cope with - both for the patient and family caregivers. Hospices are dedicated to making sure that Veterans under their care receive the acknowledgment and support they need at life's end.

See NHPCO’s press release honoring U.S. Veterans.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

November Hospice & Palliative Care Month Proclamation

In recognition of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, NHPCO has issued the following proclamation calling for increased awareness and acknowledgement of the many accomplishments of hospice and palliative care.
WHEREAS, hospice and palliative care empower people facing a serious or life-limiting illness to live as fully as possible, surrounded and supported by family and loved ones;

WHEREAS, hospice and palliative care professionals are dedicated to helping diverse communities access quality end-of-life care and are committed to removing barriers to accessing care;

WHEREAS,  hospice and palliative care bring patients and family caregivers the highest quality care delivered by an interdisciplinary team of skilled professionals that includes physicians, nurses, social workers, therapists, counselors, health aides, spiritual care providers and others who make the wishes of each patient and family a priority;

WHEREAS, through pain management and symptom control, caregiver training and assistance, and emotional and spiritual support, allowing patients to live fully and make more meaningful moments until the end,  surrounded and supported by the faces of loved ones, friends, and committed caregivers;

WHEREAS, Each year, hospice saves Medicare more than $2 billion by providing solutions for physicians, care to patients and comfort to families anywhere, at any time.
WHEREAS, every year more than 1.6 to 1.7 million Americans living with life-limiting illness, and their families, received care from the nation’s hospice programs in communities throughout the United States;

WHEREAS, more than 430,000 trained volunteers contribute 19 million hours of service to hospice programs annually in the U.S.;

WHEREAS, hospice and palliative care providers encourage all people to learn more about options of care and to share their wishes with family, loved ones, and their healthcare professionals;

NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved, by virtue of the authority vested in the Board of Directors of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, we do hereby proclaim November 2015 as National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and encourage citizens to increase their understanding and awareness of care at the end of life and to observe this month with appropriate activities and programs.

Learn more about hospice and see real stories of patients and families showing all that hospice can do to make more meaningful moments possible at

Friday, October 23, 2015

We Honor Veterans briefing held on Capitol Hill

The Hospice Action Network hosted a Congressional briefing on the We Honor Veterans program on Thursday, October 22, 2015 in the Senate Visitors Center at the U.S. Capitol.

One in four dying Americans is a Veteran. Recognizing the unique end-of-life needs Veterans face, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to create the We Honor Veterans campaign, a public-private partnership that supports hospice organizations and workers in caring for Veterans in their final days.

More than 2,700 hospices across the country participate in the initiative, which promotes Veteran-centric educational activities, increases hospices’ ability to serve Veterans, supports the development of strategic partnerships and increases Veterans’ access to hospice and palliative care.

“We are proud of the tremendous growth and success of We Honor Veterans because it reflects the commitment our hospice and other partners have to providing quality end-of-life care to our nation’s Veterans,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO’s President & CEO. “It is an honor to work closely with the VA and our partners to ensure that the men and women who have given so selflessly receive the support and compassionate care they deserve.”

The briefing featured Thomas Edes from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, David Benhoff, an Operation Iraqi/Enduring Freedom Veteran who serves Veterans through the We Honor Veterans initiative, and Jonathan Keyserling, senior vice president for health policy at NHPCO.

More information about the We Honor Veterans program is available online; additional information about the Congressional briefing is available on the Hospice Action Network website.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Advanced Level Palliative Care Webinars for the Entire Team

The MJHS Institute for Innovation in Palliative Care has partnered with NHPCO to offer a series of interprofessional webinars that provide enhanced clinical education on an array of topics relevant to every member of the team.

Building on the success of the webinars offered by the MJHS Institute for Innovation in Palliative Care, NHPCO and MJHS Institute have co-developed a webinar series focused on palliative care provision. The series began in September 2015 and have been scheduled through 2016. View the list of webinars on the MJHS website.

Upcoming webinars include:
  • Palliative Care in Parkinson's Disease and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases (on 11/05/15)
  • Assessment and Management of Fatigue in Medical Illness (on 12/03/15)
  • Integrative Therapies in Palliative Care: Mind-Body Therapies (on 01/07/15).
The webinars are one hour in length and offer 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™, 1.0 Nursing CE credits and/or its equivalent according to discipline.

“I'm delighted to be working and collaborating with NHPCO moving forward in creating new educational resources that will advance palliative care,” said Russell Portenoy, MD, executive director of the MJHS Institute for Innovation in Palliative Care.

NHPCO Executive Vice President John Mastrojohn remarked, “As presented in the Institute of Medicine report on care of the dying, there is a need to make palliative care available to all individuals across the continuum of care. NHPCO's commitment is consistent with those recommendations and we strongly believe that palliative care is not just for those at the end of life but is beneficial to patients and families in a variety of settings. Together NHPCO and MJHS Institute will enhance access to high quality education and support the professional development for those who provide frontline care.”

Portenoy video
MJHS Executive Director Russell Portenoy, MD talks about the webinar collaboration.

Learn more and see the complete schedule. Registration opens shortly before the scheduled program date.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Special training on community-based palliative care from NHPCO and CSU Institute

A special education offering, Leading the Way to Community-Based Palliative Care Success, is being offer by the California State University Institute for Palliative Care and NHPCO on October 14, 2015. This day-long seminar is part of NHPCO's annual Clinical Team Conference and Pediatric Intensive being held in Grapevine, Texas (just outside of Dallas).

As palliative care moves into the community, who better than hospice programs to provide palliative care in their respective communities? This highly interactive workshop will ensure that providers understand what it takes to deliver palliative care, and to create a clear, defined path which leads to success.

Since its inception in 2012, the CSU Institute for Palliative Care has trained over 800 health care professionals from across the US and around the world - nurses, social workers, chaplains and allied health professionals. The Institute knows and understands workforce development. California State University trains 15% of the nation’s graduating health care workforce. The Institute's palliative care faculty includes experts in all the core palliative care disciplines. In addition to training professionals, the Institute works with organizations, teaching leaders how to build, promote and grow palliative care services.

Those interested in attending Leading the Way to Community-Based Palliative Care Success (preconference PC03) should visit the Clinical Team Conference website. Advance registration closes September 20, so register today and save.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

2015 Clinical Team Conference & Pediatric Intensive - "Expanding the Mission"

NHPCO's 16th Clinical Team Conference and Pediatric Intensive will be held October 15-17, 2015 (with preconference events Oct. 13-14) in cooperation with the Texas/New Mexico Hospice Organization.

"Expanding the Mission" is the theme of this year's CTC being held at the Gaylord Texan, in Grapevine, Texas (just outside Dallas). Registration is now open.

This year's CTC will gather innovators, visionaries, dedicated practitioners and all committed to the continued development and expansion of hospice and palliative care. Whether you provide care to patients and families directly through interdisciplinary practice, manage interdisciplinary team staff, lead quality efforts or are responsible for related practices and processes, this conference will be worthwhile. All members of the hospice and palliative care team and community stakeholders are encouraged to attend.

Register before August 24, 2015 and save $100 with the early-bird registration rate. For additional information, download the conference promotional brochure (PDF).

Monday, August 3, 2015

CMS Final Rule Implements New Payment Structure for Hospice

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released the FY2016 Hospice Wage Index Final Rule on Friday, July 31, 2015.  Payment reform, which includes a two-tiered routine home care (RHC) rate and a service intensity add-on payment are two major components cited in the rule which represent the first significant changes to hospice payment methodology since the Medicare hospice benefit went into effect in 1983.

NHPCO is supportive of the proposal for a new payment structure and believes that payment of a higher rate during the first 60 days of care reflects the service intensity identified by CMS and its contractors in claims data.

Payment Reform: The two-tiered payment model for RHC days will be implemented on January 1, 2016. Hospices will be paid a higher rate for the first 60 days of hospice care and a lower rate for subsequent days in hospice care.  

Service Intensity Add-On Payment:  A service intensity add-on (SIA) payment, also effective January 1, 2016, will be made for patients receiving visits conducted by an RN or social worker during the last week of life when patients and families typically have more intensive needs.

CMS will calculate and make the appropriate SIA payment based on a retrospective review, after a patient’s death, of hospice claims for the last seven days of the patient’s life. The SIA payment will be equal to the continuous home care hourly rate, multiplied by the amount of direct patient care provided by an RN or social worker for up to a total of four hours per day. 

The SIA payment applies to any hospice patient in the last seven days of life, regardless of length of stay.  For patients with a short length of stay in hospice, the SIA payment will help to mitigate the marginally higher costs associated with short lengths of stay.

In addition, the new rule will provide for a 1.6 percent rate increase for hospice providers in FY2016.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

New Pediatric Resource Helps Focus Attention on Children’s Unmet Needs

A new report released by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization provides insight into the care needs of young people who might benefit from pediatric palliative/hospice care.  These are children with chronic, complex and/or life-limiting conditions.

The 11-page report, “NHPCO Facts and Figures: Pediatric Palliative and Hospice Care in America,” can help hospice and palliative care providers—as well as policymakers, funders and the media—to better understand both the current challenges and the unmet needs of children and their families across the country.

Pediatric palliative/hospice care provides children and their families with high quality, compassionate, and consistent care delivered through the collaborative efforts of an interdisciplinary team. PP/HC may be provided along with concurrent disease-modifying therapy and can transition to be the main focus of care when disease-modifying therapy is no longer effective and comfort becomes a priority.
Due to the complexity of care involved, children with life-threatening conditions and complex chronic conditions are likely to benefit from PP/HC services. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that the number of children with special health care needs in increasing. Overall, 15.1 percent of U.S. children ages 0 – 17 (11.2 million children) are in this category.

Download the report and access additional resources on pediatric hospice and palliative care at


Friday, July 24, 2015

2015 Circle of Life Award® Honorees

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the National Hospice Foundation honor the recipients of the 2015 Circle of Life Award® and Citation of Honor. Care Dimensions in Danvers, Mass. is the recipient of the prestigious Circle of Life Award for 2015. Hospice of Frederick County in Frederick, Md., has earned a Citation of Honor.

The award celebrates innovation in end-of-life care and the two programs honored this year demonstrate a commitment to providing palliative care services within the continuum of care along with outreach to traditionally underserved communities. 

“The opportunity to learn from innovators in our field benefits all organizations providing hospice and palliative care services and the Circle of Life Award is a significant way for us to spotlight those innovative providers,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO and NHF president and CEO.  “These programs, who are both NHPCO members, serve as models for us all as we move forward in our shared goal of providing the highest quality of care for all those facing serious and life-limiting illness and we applaud Care Dimensions and hospice of Frederick County.”

The awards were presented at a ceremony at the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) annual summit in San Francisco on July 24.

Since 2000, the Circle of Life Award has honored programs that demonstrate excellence and innovation in palliative and end-of-life care. Further information about the honorees and the Circle of Life Award is available at

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hospice Demonstration Sites Announced for Medicare Care Choices Model

Today, CMS announced the names of 141 organizations that will serve as demonstration sites for its Medicare Care Choice Model (MCCM). This list is available on the CMS website.

CMS originally anticipated selecting 30 Medicare-certified hospices for the project but given the overwhelming interest from the U.S. hospice community, the list of MCCM demonstration sites grew to over 140, many of which are NHPCO members. This will enable the model to provide care for up to 150,000 Medicare or dually eligible beneficiaries over the five year period.

The MCCM is an initiative developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to explore ways to improve care options for beneficiaries by allowing greater flexibility and choice “in deciding between hospice care and curative treatment, when faced with life-limiting illness.” 

With the intention of improving Medicare beneficiaries’ quality of care and patient and family satisfaction, the MCCM will provide a new option for beneficiaries with advanced cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, and HIV/AIDS who meet hospice eligibility requirements under the Medicare hospice benefit, to receive palliative care services from  the hospice providers who have been chosen to participate in the model while concurrently receiving services provided by their curative care providers.

- See the complete NHPCO press release.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Call to Action: Contact legislators to support hospice

All supporters of hospice care in the U.S. are encouraged to contact their legislators July 14 through 16, 2015, as part of the hospice community's annual legislative event on Capitol Hill.

On July 14, nearly 300 Hospice Advocates, representing 48 states and districts, and every discipline in the Interdisciplinary Team, are in Washington, DC, visiting more than 400 Congressional offices to call for support of hospice.

Individuals across the country also can make a tangible difference for hospices by participating from their homes across the nation. Hospice Action Network and NHPCO are encouraging all hospice supporters to call their Members of Congress and take specific actions that will not only benefit the hospice community but allow hospices to better serve the people for which they care.   

Advocates will be asking their Senators to support The Care Planning Act of 2015 (S 1549) designed to give people with serious illness the freedom to make more informed choices about their card, and the power to have those choices honoured. Additionally, Senators will be asked to join the Sign-on Letter written by Senators Roberts and Warner that calls for CMS to test hospice payment changes that were included in the FY2016 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

Members of the House of Representatives will be asked to co-sponsor The Hospice Care Access Improvement Act of 2015 (HR 3037) that was just introduced yesterday, July 13, 2015. This legislation calls for a one year testing period to ensure any payment methodology reforms proposed by CMS will be implemented with minimal unintended complications or consequences. The opportunity to test any system changes and conduct the necessary education and training would benefit CMS and the hospice provider community. The legislation also contains a number of program integrity provisions long-supported by the hospice community.

The Hospice Action Network has created an easy to use online "Click to Call" Campaign that will help people understand the issue and then connect them to their Congressional representatives. The whole process should take no longer than 30 minutes, start to finish- that’s all it takes for you to make a difference.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Circle of Life Awards: Nominations Now Open

Call for Nominations: Circle of Life Award
Celebrating Innovation in Palliative and End-of-Life care

The Circle of Life Award honor innovative palliative and end-of-life care in hospices, hospitals, health care systems, long-term care facilities, and other direct care providers.  The Circle of Life Awards shine a light on programs and organizations that can serve as models or inspiration for other providers.

Make sure your program gets the national recognition it deserves. The Circle of Life Awards will give top honors in 2016 to up to three programs or organizations.
Hear past honorees talk about their innovations and the award's value to their programs.

In speaking with hospice providers, I frequently hear many of them say ‘I don’t think we’re ready yet to submit a nomination…” But I can attest that many of these organizations do have programs that are worth nominating for The Circle of Life Award says J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO.

“In fact, many hospice providers have found that the thorough process of submitting a nomination has led to unexpected sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. So I encourage hospices to look into nominating their worthwhile programs.”

For any questions, please email

Monday, March 30, 2015

Thinking in terms of terminal prognosis

Determining what aspects of care hospice providers are responsible for has become an issue of growing importance in recent months. NHPCO is working to help hospice providers with resources that will clarify what many considered a complex issue.

As part of NHPCO’s efforts to help providers understand the issue involving terminal prognosis, the organization has created a new 10-minute, online video that discusses the topic in an engaging format that will appeal to all hospice staff.

“As providers of hospice care, we must properly frame the way we think about and characterize our patients and the scope of our responsibility in providing care to them, providing a comprehensive and accurate picture that validates each patient’s eligibility for hospice care by focusing on the basis for their terminal prognosis,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO.

Read NHPCO's complete press release on the topic.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

House Passes SGR "Doc Fix" Package

On Monday, NHPCO notified members that legislation was expected to move through Congress which would permanently correct the flawed Medicare reimbursement formula for physicians (known as the SRG or "doc fix). Monday's policy email alerted you that the package could be partially offset by an across-the-board reimbursement cut to post-acute-care providers, including hospice, in FY2018. The cut would come in the form of a cap of 1% (before statutory reductions) for the inflationary adjustment, or "market basket," for that fiscal year.

The legislation, H.R. 2 - the Medicare Access and CHIP Re-authorization Act of 2015, overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives today and is expected to be taken up by the Senate as early as tomorrow.

While some Senators have expressed concerns about portions of the bill, it is expected to pass that chamber and President Obama has expressed his intention to sign the bill into law. If the Senate does not consider the bill tomorrow, it is anticipated that it will as soon as the chamber returns from a two-week recess, during the week of April 13.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

March is National Social Worker Month

Join NHPCO in celebrating National Social Work Month.  Notably, March 17 is celebrated as World Social Work Day.  Nowhere are the skills of the professional social worker more valued than in hospice and palliative care.

Among their many contributions to society, professional social workers help us discover our potential as human beings and help us improve our lives and those of our loved ones. There is no better example of this than the dedicated professionals who work in the hospice and palliative care field.

Each and every day, they help patients and their families live fully— and find peace and dignity—during the most challenging stage of life.

NHPCO and members of our National Council of Hospice and Palliative Professionals are proud to recognize these dedicated colleagues during National Social Work Month.

NHPCO encourages members to visit the Web site of the National Association of Social Workers for information and resources about this national observance:

Friday, March 6, 2015

Become a Hospice Fundraiser

You can make a difference for people facing life-limiting illnesses by turning your passion into a fundraising opportunity to support hospice.

Do you enjoy participating in mud runs or marathons? Do you like baking? Instead of receiving presents at a special celebration, would you rather have family and friends donate to your favorite charity? Did you know that you can do the things you love AND raise funds for patients facing end-of-challenges? The National Hospice Foundation has made it easier than ever to help fundraisers create a successful event from start to finish and raise money for a worthwhile cause.

NHF utilizes the Razoo fundraising platform that allows users to customize their own fundraising web page, tell their story, explain their idea, set a fundraising goal, upload photos and videos, collect donations, and email friends and family.

This step by step guide helps users from start to finish and even includes fundraising ideas for those who want to participate but are not sure what type of event to organize.

Learn more on the National Hospice Foundation website.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Advance planning in pediatric hospice/palliative care

A new edition of the E-journal from NHPCO's Children's Project on Palliative/Hospice Services that examines selected issues in advance planning in pediatric hospice/palliative care is now available for download, free of charge.

These articles argue for the value of advance planning, describe tools for that purpose, explain how to initiate advance planning conversations, and indicate who should be involved in this care. Because this is a very important subject, the ChiPPS E-Journal Workgroup has decided to devote two issues to these discussions - this is the first of the two issues.

Workgroup editors commented, "We appreciate that no two issues or collections of articles will do justice to these broad topics, but we hope that the articles in this issue and in the one to follow will spur discussion and implementation of advance planning as a cooperative enterprise with children, adolescents, their family members, and the professionals involved in their care."

Visit the ChiPPS archive page online for past editions of the ChiPPS E-Journal and E-Newsletter

Thursday, February 12, 2015

NHPCO Forms Council to Address Lack of Utilization of Hospice Care in Diverse Communities

As Americans celebrate Black History Month, hospice professionals acknowledge that hospice utilization within African American communities is disproportionately low.  To help address this disparity in end-of-life care, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has created a Diversity Advisory Council – a group of hospice and healthcare professionals and experts who will work to increase access to hospice and palliative care services. 

Researchers have tackled this disparity, to identify why such underutilization of hospice exists.  Studies have concluded that many African Americans are distrustful of the government and the healthcare system, a distrust that is rooted in both historical and present day experiences, and may play a role in the decisions families make when facing the challenges of a life-limiting illness.

“Of all patients utilizing hospice in 2013, approximately 8.4% were identified as black or African American,” says NHPCO Senior Vice President of Education, Access, and Philanthropy, Diane Hill Taylor.  “With guidance from the Diversity Advisory Council, we will build a strong initiative to ensure that we’re reaching all those who need hospice care.”

To support the work of hospice providers, a newly-revised version of NHPCO’s African American Outreach Guide is now available online, free of charge. The Guide outlines key principles and insights to help hospices better serve this diverse community. 

The council will assist with the development of additional resources and tools related to serving diverse populations.  The group will offer recommendations and educational content to NHPCO members who are seeking to connect with diverse populations in the communities they serve.  (Read NHPCO's full press release online.)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

"Palliative Care Approach to Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias"

NHPCO will be offering a webinar on February 12 that will explore the benefits of palliative care in supporting patients and families living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Since January of 2011, ten-thousand Baby Boomers have been turning 65 every day. This "Silver Tsunami" of 79 million aging Americans will continue until 2030. By then, 18% of the US population will be over age 65, an increase from 13% in 2010. With this sharp increase in the number of older Americans, we will see dramatically more patients with chronic debilitating illnesses, including Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

The prevalence of Alzheimer's dementia in the US population is expected to triple by 2050 and has been called the "great health crisis of the 21st century". Palliative care has much to offer these patients and families.

Using a case-based approach, this NHPCO Webinar will:
  • Describe the impact of dementia upon American society in the next 20 years.
  • Discuss the value of palliative care in helping patients and families living with dementia.
  • Identify specific treatment strategies in the palliative management of dementia.
To learn more about this Webinar and to register for "A Palliative Care Approach to Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias," please visit the NHPCO website.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Call for Proposals: Clinical Team Conference 2015

Be Part of CTC 2015!  Are you committed to expanding care in diverse settings to diverse populations? How about improving the function and practice of interdisciplinary teams? Or enhancing the quality of evidence-based, ethical, effective and efficient care at the end of life?
If you are, plan to join innovators, visionaries, dedicated practitioners and all committed to the continued development and expansion of hospice and palliative care as faculty for NHPCO’s 16th Clinical Team Conference and Pediatric Intensive (CTC).
The CTC Call for Proposals is open and available to receive your great ideas for education sessions; the deadline for proposals is February 17, 2015.