Thursday, April 30, 2020

Moments of Grace

Even during a public health crisis, hospice and palliative care professionals rise to the challenge of providing compassionate, person-centered care in the community, and even support their fellow health care workers on the front lines.  

NHPCO thanks Grace Hospice of Lafayette, Louisiana for sharing how their team exemplifies #hapcFacesofCaring 

The team at Grace Hospice loves showing their support in their local community. In addition to caring for their own patients and families, Grace Hospice is reaching out to those who are on the front lines of the pandemic. 

One program the hospice and palliative care team is participating in is called “A Scoop of Grace.” Grace Hospice provides meals for the health care workers and the security team at the local COVID-19 testing site. Each meal also includesa prayer card created by the chaplains with “Words of Faith.”  

A Scoop of Grace also provides meals for health care workers in the neighboring community of Opelousas. Meals were delivered to the COVID-19 testing site and to the staff of Opelousas General Hospital.  

In addition to providing meals, Grace Hospice is reaching out with messages of support to other clinicians. The marketing team put together words of encouragement that were made into postcards and were mailed to hospital and nursing home staff, and the clinical staff created personalized messages to support all who are on the front line of this virus. 

And to reach out to the extended community, chaplains shared words of encouragement virtually with the YouTube video Moment of Grace with Grace Hospice.”   

We will continue to provide support to our local community with meals, prayers, and whatever support we can provide to help get us through this difficult time,” Administrator Jennifer Nugent said.  

If you would like to share the creative ways your hospice and palliative care team is caring for patients amid the COVID-19 crisis, please send us your photos and stories so you can be featured in the #hapcFacesOfCaring campaign. 

Friday, April 24, 2020

Veteran Volunteer Honors Hospice Patient from Outside Window

Even during a public health crisis, hospice and palliative care professionals rise to the challenge of providing compassionate, person-centered care in the community. What is equally powerful is seeing hospice volunteers do the same.

NHPCO extends sincere thanks to Heartland Hospice serving South Central Wisconsin for sharing this story about one of their Veteran volunteers, who exemplifies the #hapcFacesofCaring.

Johnny Simmons, Heartland Hospice veteran volunteer, has been visiting with patient Robert since February. They hit it off right away when Robert invited Heartland into his “barracks.” Johnny visited Robert every other week and they always had good talks about their time in the military. Johnny brought some of his military equipment during one of their visits, which sparked a lot of conversation.

Due to the visitation restrictions from COVID-19, Johnny was only able to visit a couple of times but made numerous attempts to reach out to Robert via phone calls. Robert began to decline quickly. On March 25, Johnny called and was able to get through to Robert’s room, but he was physically unable to have a conversation. Johnny spoke with Robert’s son and told him about their previous visits and his admiration for his father. Johnny expressed his gratitude for Robert’s service to the country.

It became apparent that Robert was declining quickly after the phone call and Johnny reached out to Brittney Behrendt, Heartland Hospice Volunteer Coordinator, letting her know that he would keep Robert and his family in his thoughts and prayers and pray that he would get to see Robert again. Johnny stated that if Robert was close to end-of-life, he would like to show up to his window in uniform and honor him. Wind, cold, rain, whatever the weather conditions, he said he wanted to salute Robert one last time. 

Heartland made that happen after receiving a nursing report that Robert had declined more and was nearing the end of his life. Brittney called Johnny to inform him about Robert, and Johnny was at the facility in full uniform within the hour. As Brittney and Johnny walked up to the window, Robert’s Heartland Hospice Social Worker, Allison, opened his bedside window. Brittney spoke to Robert from outside to let him know that Johnny was there to see him and stepped back to allow Johnny and Robert be “together” one last time. Johnny walked up to the window and Robert slightly opened his eyes and Johnny spoke to him, letting him know that he was there, how thankful he was for the time they were able to spend together and thanked him for his service to our country. Johnny said goodbye and took a step back to salute Robert, a friend, brother, and Hero.
If you would like to share the creative ways your hospice and palliative care team is caring for patients amid the COVID-19 crisis, please send us your photos and stories so you can be featured in the #hapcFacesOfCaring campaign.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Sewing Masks to Pay it Forward

Even during a public health crisis, hospice and palliative care professionals rise to the challenge of providing compassionate, person-centered care in the community. What is equally powerful is seeing hospice volunteers and members of the community do the same.

NHPCO thanks Jennifer Matlack, Marketing and Public Relations Manager for Regional Hospice in Connecticut, for sharing this #hapcFacesofCaring story about Marion, who stepped up to a call for masks.

Like everyone else, we are grappling with low PPE inventory. As a backup, we put a call out to our volunteers, asking for people who could sew masks for us. Many have. We have about 300 now with more coming in. One woman, Marion, who sewed for us is not a volunteer but rather heard about our plea via a friend.

She ended up sewing about 20 masks for us and confided that being able to help in this way was really a release for her. She is a cancer survivor and at first was very hesitant about helping, as the nature of what we were asking kicked up past struggles with her health. She wrote to me after she made her masks for us, saying, “Asking me to do this was hard at first, but after I got done, you set me free.” 

“I was a cancer patient and I have been diabetic for 50 years, so sometimes getting involved with health issues others are facing brings huge compassion yet revives my own grief and frustration. That being said, to pay it forward is a gift, as I would rather be on the giving end than receiving,” Marion wrote.

Like so many other hospice and palliative care providers, Regional Hospice is grateful for the outpouring of support we have received during this public health crisis.

If you would like to share the creative ways your hospice and palliative care team is caring for patients amid the COVID-19 crisis, please send us your photos and stories so you can be featured in the #hapcFacesOfCaring campaign.

We Honor Veterans Launches New Website and Logo

The We Honor Veterans team is pleased to announce our new We Honor Veterans website and logo! Over the past few months, we have been tirelessly working on updating the look and feel of WHV to provide our partners a better customer experience.

We took all your feedback, comments and suggestions to heart and used them to inform the creation and design of the new website. Katherine Kemp, Director of Veterans Services, and I have been consistently saying that 2020 is the "year of the website," and it's finally here! I'm excited to see your reaction to the update of our partner portal, resource library, and other features of the website. We did this for you, so you have a better experience.

Our team here at NHPCO worked together to identify the needs of our partners to develop a resource library that is accessible on your laptop and on the go when visiting patients in need. Everything is at your fingertips and more convenient. This feature allows you as a provider to view the latest resources by era of military service, population need, or resource type.  Similar to the Amazon search page, you can narrow your search by checking off boxes that match the category you’re looking for. It's like shopping, but for resources. These features of better functionality can be seen throughout the entire website.

Also, because We Honor Veterans is a program of NHPCO in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, we wanted our logo to be more consistent with the NHPCO logo. After numerous drafts and redesigns, we all saw the light and brightness the new logo brings.

We appreciate all our partners' patience over the past month while waiting for the new website. Our logo and website may have changed; however, our commitment to recognize the unique needs of America's Veterans and their families will never change.

Written by Emily Marge, Veterans Services Associate

Monday, April 20, 2020

Laura Adams to be opening keynote for 2020 Virtual Conference

Laura Adams, Special Advisor, National Academy of Medicine, will kick off the 2020 Virtual Conference (July 22 & 23) with an important and timely discussion on how providers can utilize quality improvement to increase their care as well as their margins. In her keynote, The Future of QI: Powering Excellence and Deepening Human Connection, Laura will examine the evolution of the state-of the-art QI program as it takes its rightful place as a key business strategy and a path to restoring humanity and meaning in healthcare.

Laura is a nationally known digital health, innovation, and person-focused healthcare expert, and has been named one of the Most Powerful Women in Health IT. Noted for building the award-winning statewide information exchange in Rhode Island, Laura pioneers’ solutions in health, innovation, and the deepening of human connection.

NHPCO, AAHPM and HPNA are again partnering to bring the provider community education around the shared goal of providing high-quality, person-centered care. And how important it is to support greater education around quality care and quality measurement.

The 2020 Virtual Conference focuses on the clinical and programmatic aspects of quality and will help hospice and palliative professionals explore how they connect quality with purpose. VC20 will feature:
• All live streaming sessions
• Four keynotes
• Opportunities for interaction and networking
• CE/CME credit
• Unlimited on-demand access for 3 months after the live event

VC20 Registration is Open!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Motivated by Mission

NHPCO and its #hapcFacesOfCaring campaign continues to receive photos and stories from hospice and palliative care providers across the country. What we have learned from the faces and stories we see is that those who are motivated by the mission of hospice will do anything they can to ensure that their patients and families are cared for, even amid a pandemic that could impact their own life greatly. Courtany Stoner of Residential Hospice describes what their staff are experiencing at this time.

Our Hospice RNs and MSWs have been providing care for many COVID positive, GIP hospice patients within our partner hospitals. They have shared many stories related to the challenges the patients and families are facing during this difficult time. Many of the patients are experiencing significant respiratory symptoms and are rapidly declining. Some family members are elderly themselves, some with their own underlying health conditions, and others are quite fearful of visiting their loved ones - or even going to the hospital to sign the hospice consents.

Some patients are suffering alone. In some cases, limited visitors are allowed but families are choosing to not visit. Our hospice team has helped coordinate calls and FaceTime for some of the COVID positive patients to provide them an opportunity to see or speak to their loved ones, maybe for the last time. Families, now more than ever, appreciate the extra care and attention that our hospice team is providing. We are giving daily updates and supportive calls to ensure they continue to feel connected and supported as their loved ones’ conditions continue to change.

Cheryl, one of our Lead RNs, shared today that although she has had fear, she thinks about the care she would want for her loved ones if they were in this position, and she is motivated to continue to follow our mission.

 Cheryl Ambrose, our Lead RN TNL 

What an honor it has been to lead and work alongside such a dedicated, compassionate hospice team during the scariest of times.

If you would like to share the creative ways your hospice and palliative care team is caring for patients amid the COVID-19 crisis, please send us your photos and stories so you can be featured in the #hapcFacesOfCaring campaign.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Hospice and Palliative Care Teams Share Their Faces and Stories from the Field

There is no doubt that life has changed for each one of us. The coronavirus pandemic has reached every corner of the globe and we have had to learn how to adjust our work and personal lives to be good and responsible members of society. We each play a role in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Many of us are fortunate enough to be able to work from home and limit our exposure to the virus. Health care workers on the front lines do not have this luxury and are putting themselves at risk to do their jobs and care for others. Hospice and palliative care workers are no different; in fact, they are caring for one of the most vulnerable populations. Changes in regulations, increased use of telehealth, and limited use of PPE are just some of the challenges these clinicians are facing and yet they are continuing to provide care in this new reality of uncertainty and fear.

We know that hospice and palliative care professionals will always rise to the challenge. They will typically run toward the fire and do what they can to make the world a better place. NHPCO launched the #hapcFacesOfCaring social media campaign to show the faces and tell the stories of the hospice and palliative care heroes who are continuing to do their jobs, behind masks and sometimes behind glass, to ensure that patients and families are cared for and safe.

We have received so many great photos so far. Many are pictures of the interdisciplinary team members wearing masks and conducting daily work like team meetings virtually or minding proper social distancing measures.  We have seen many photos of pet and music therapy happening on the other side of a window.  Music therapists are getting creative and recording songs for their patients to listen to since they can’t physically be by their side.

Kindful Hospice

Providence Care

Healing Rhythms

Hospice volunteers are no longer seeing patients in person. Many patient volunteers have expressed how heartbreaking it is to not be able to make those in-person visits. It’s what they thrive on and is their purpose. But hospice volunteers are so giving and resourceful that some have come up with other ways to be helpful including making masks for the team or putting together small gifts to give to the patients.

Angelic Health

We are sharing these wonderful photos and stories on NHPCO social media channels daily. It’s so important for the public to see that despite the challenges, uncertainties and risk of being exposed to the virus, hospice and palliative care teams continue to provide care to those who need it. We want to continue to share these positive moments in the coming weeks so we encourage hospice and palliative care team members to share their photos and stories with us so we can, in turn, share them with the world. Photos can also be shared on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using #hapcFacesOfCaring so we can track the posts. 

For more information visit,