Friday, January 29, 2016

Creating #MoreMoments for African American Families and Caregivers

To commemorate the contributions that African Americans have made to our nation, Carter G. Woodson, American historian, established Black History Week. The first celebration occurred on Feb. 12, 1926. In 1976, as part of the nation's bicentennial, the week was expanded into Black History Month.

This year's theme is Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories.  “The Association for the Study of African American Life & History has selected this annual theme to bring attention to the centennial celebration of the National Park Service and the more than twenty-five sites and the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom that is part of America’s hallowed grounds...”( As we embark on Black History Month, we recognize that these historical landmarks are important in telling the stories of African American history and their memories.

This spring, NHPCO and Morgan State University will offer non-credit courses focused on educating caregivers to make informed decisions about end-of-life care.  NHPCO’s strategic plan includes expanding hospice and palliative care access to African American communities where a disparity of care exists. This collaboration between NHPCO and Morgan State University will help to move this important initiative forward.

The goal is that more African American patients, families and caregivers are able to have conversations, complete advance directives and become more informed decision-makers about end-of-life care.  By having these conversations before a crisis occurs, families are able to create lasting memories and #moremoments with their loved ones.

As a mom, sister, daughter, niece and past caregiver, I understand the importance of having conversations about these issues. I constantly remind my children of my wishes and talk to them about their wishes. I don’t want them to be afraid to talk about death.  Having that same conversation with my mom has not been so easy.  Although she understands that these conversations need to happen, she still has a hard time taking the next steps. Being from a large African American family, with tons of baby boomer aunties, uncles and cousins, I am excited about NHPCO’s collaboration with Morgan State University. I know that the courses will help African American families similar to my own family, have a better understanding of end-of-life care. This collaboration will create awareness, educate and encourage African American families in the Baltimore community to be their own advocates. Thus, creating #moremoments like Hannabelle and Deadra stories that are showcased in NHPCO’s “Moments of Life” public awareness campaign.

Morgan State University is a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) that is also known for its contributions to African-American history. As a HBCU, not only is its campus considered hallowed grounds but also, the city where it is located -- Baltimore. Founded in 1867 as the Centenary Biblical Institute by the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the institution's original mission was to train young men in ministry. It subsequently broadened its mission to educate both men and women as teachers. In 1939, Morgan State became a public institution.

As for the city of Baltimore, it is home to many notable African American sites including, Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, The Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park, and The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum.

Cozzie King
NHPCO Senior Manager, Access Programs

NHPCO’s Cozzie King, second from left, shares her thoughts on African American History Month and the disparity of hospice care in the African American community.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

NHPCO Welcomes New Board Members

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization welcomes new individuals to the organization’s Board of Directors. These individuals officially join the board at NHPCO’s first board meeting of the year on January 27, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale.

Elected by the NHPCO membership to serve as National Directors for a three-year term are Darren Bertram of Infinity Hospice Care, Phoenix, Ariz. and Rafael Sciullo, Suncoast Hospice of Clearwater, Fla. Jan Jones, of The Elizabeth Hospice in Escondido, Calif., has been elected for a second term as a National Director.

Sally Aldrich, of Methodist Alliance Hospice in Collierville, Tenn, was elected as the board’s Southeast Geographic Area Representative. Linda Todd, of Hospice of Siouxland in Correctionville, Iowa, was reelected for a second term as the Central Plains Geographic Area Representative.

“We are fortunate to have board members who are not only experienced in running programs but dedicated to improving care at the end of life through the provision of and access to quality hospice and palliative care services,” said J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of NHPCO.

Continuing in their roles as officers of the Board of Directors are Linda Rock, Chair; Jan Jones, Vice Chair; Sandy Kuhlman, Secretary; Michael McHale, Treasurer; and Ron Fried, Immediate Past Chair.

Additionally, NHPCO extends special thanks to the board members who concluded service in 2015: Samira Beckwith, Kate Cummings, and John Thoma.

Board members come from programs that vary in size, serve urban and rural areas, and represent single-site and multi-state providers. We also have expertise from academic institutions and other nonprofit organizations. We all share a common goal to improve care at the end of life and to those joining the board, those currently serving, and those who have concluded service, I thank them,” Schumacher added.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

JAMA Focuses on Care at End of Life

Hospice and palliative care professionals and advocates will be interested in the current edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, January 19, 2016, Vol 315, No. 3, that contains a collection of articles and research studies on care of the dying.

Contributing authors include Harvey Max Chochinov, MD, Atul Gawande, MD, Timothy E. Quill, MD, Joan Teno, MD, Alexi A. Wright, MD, and many others recognized in the field of medicine and end-of-life care.

One of the original articles being made available free of charge online and of interest to ehospice readers is "Comparison of Site of Death, Health Care Utilization, and Hospital Expenditures for Patients Dying With Cancer in 7 Developed Countries."  In the conclusion of this research article, study authors write, "Among patients older than 65 years who died with cancer in 7 developed countries in 2010, end-of-life care was more hospital-centric in Belgium, Canada, England, Germany, and Norway than in the Netherlands or the United States."

An infographic also available to the public is "When and Why People Die in the United States, 1990-2013."

In his editorial, "Quantity and Quality of Life," Dr. Gawande writes "The picture of care at the end of life that emerges is therefore disturbing. A widespread perception among both the medical profession and the public at large has been that seeking palliative care consultation or hospice services, or even just having advance planning discussions, amounts to “giving up” and is only relevant when people no longer have options for disease-based therapy. This view is incorrect and harmful."

Find the full listing of articles in this edition on the JAMA website.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Guide to Organizational Ethics in Hospice Care

NHPCO is pleased to announce a new resource for hospice programs and professionals being made free-of-charge for NHPCO members.

Written by members of the Ethics Advisory Council, the Guide to Organizational Ethics in Hospice Care presents four key concepts of the hospice philosophy of care. Seven organizational values are explained and applied to seven core operational domains, with examples of how the values can be integrated into policies and practices.

The intent is for organizations and individuals to use the framework and values in this document to inform development and implementation of organizational policies, procedures, and practices consistent with ethical standards, resonant with the hospice philosophy of care.

NHPCO Members may download the Guide to Organizational Ethics in Hospice Care from the NHPCO website (log-in is required).