Wednesday, July 28, 2021

A Quality Summer Experience

“Wow. I’m here.”

Having interviewed and hired almost a month before, it felt like this day would never come, but it had. I was outside the NHPCO office, preparing to walk into my first internship experience. I had been preparing for weeks for this moment, studying the Quality Connections program I would be working on, reviewing acronyms I would need for understanding conversations around the office, tirelessly taking notes, and learning as much as I could about the intricacies of hospice and palliative care. My boss, Hope Fost, had even sent me access to the Quality Connections portal early to look it over and give feedback. But the day had arrived, and it was time to put the rubber on the road.

As a first-year college student from Georgia studying Economics, I can safely say the last place I expected to be was in Alexandria, Virginia, preparing to work on the quality of hospices and palliative care centers nationwide. But here I was. My first few days were constant meetings, with multiple team members helping me get up to speed with everything I would need to know for success. The staff had everything lined up for me perfectly for me to be my best immediately and showed me the tight-knit nature of NHPCO.

Hope made sure to keep me busy on significant projects from the start, immediately allowing me to catch up on data entry for multiple programs. I awarded credit to our members for their participation in Quality Connections, including the Evaluation of Grief Support Services and the Survey of Team Attitudes and Relationships. While I enjoyed this work, I also am proud of how deeply involved I got to be in NHPCO's programs. I assisted in revamping our Measures of Excellence dashboard, wrote a new standard operating procedure for one of our trickier databases, and got to participate in our Virtual Capitol Hill Advocacy Day representing my home state, which was a great honor.

Even though I was kept busy, I had plenty of opportunities to learn about all the parts of NHPCO. I found out quickly that there is always something new to learn, even on those rare days where there is not much coming across your desk. I spoke to members of our Hospice Action Network (HAN) to learn more about their day-to-day work. Those meetings ultimately led to a project collaboration between the Quality Team and HAN, which will strengthen both teams long-term by allowing our policy advocates access to our relevant data to represent our members even better than before. I also got to try out my hand at marketing one of the Quality Team’s revamped programs!

In all of this, I learned about myself as well. I discovered that I could thrive in an environment different from any I had ever experienced. I found out that I could be more flexible than I ever had to be before. Most of all, I learned that I could do more than I thought and that I should not box myself in as much as I do. I will carry all that I have learned about caring for those near the end of life and those dealing with serious illnesses, as well as the joy of getting to work with the amazing individuals here at NHPCO, into the future as I go through all parts of my life.


By Allan Hegedus
Allan is an intern working with NHPCO’s quality team this summer. He is a rising sophomore at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia studying economics.

Friday, July 9, 2021

The Importance of the Words We Use

After celebrating June as Pride Month, we are pleased to share a blog on caring for LGBTQ+ people at the end of life. Edie M. Moran, LCSW, APHSW-C, a social worker with Prospero Health and a member of NHPCO's Diversity Advisory Council, offers the following reflections. 

At Prospero Health, our mission is to “Empower people facing serious illness to live their best lives now.” But providing care sure is hard to do when we have not taken the time to learn our patients’ points of view. Consider this recent example: Prospero’s care team was serving an amazing couple here in Chicago who were preparing to move out of their family home and into assisted living. During a routine team meeting, a teammate innocently asked how “the wife” felt about everything surrounding the move. Well, there was no wife in this family because both halves of the couple were men. This conversation was a simple reminder that taking the time to meet our patients where they are in life is not only valuable, but demonstrates respect to our LGBTQ+ community members. This remark was a simple mistake, really - most couples are a husband and wife. But not this very special couple, who had been together nearly 50 years!

As clinicians, we have a duty to use words to describe our patients that are the same words our patients use to describe themselves  in this instance, “husbands.” So much of our society, from the words we use to describe institutions to legal forms to generalized society-wide ideals of gender and sexuality, follows a heteronormative convention of naming. So, it can take a little mental gymnastics to undo the sometimes erroneous defaults our society uses to name issues surrounding gender and sexuality. Remember, practice makes perfect. Ask about, learn, and use all people’s pronouns. Be careful and thoughtful how you label or describe people. “Folks,” “friends,” and “teammates” are great substitutions for “you guys.” Most importantly, when you mess up, make it a point to do better! If we take the time to intentionally position ourselves with our patients in mind, we can all do even better at ensuring our patients really are living their best lives, now!


NHPCO recently released a new resource, LGBTQ+ Resource Guide, with content developed by NHPCO’s Diversity Advisory Council. The topics covered in the resource guide include LGBTQ+ healthcare disparities, serving LGBTQ+ patients in your community, and strategies for reaching out to LGBTQ+ communities. Download the LGBTQ+ Resource Guide (PDF) at no cost.

Additional free resource materials from NHPCO are available at

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Why Participate in the 2021 Virtual Conference - Healthcare Transformation

The past year has been unlike any other in terms of the effect of the pandemic on just about all aspects of our lives and work. And yet, while the world as seen through the COVID-19 lens has been remarkably different, there are other important changes in the health care landscape around us that may have a significant impact on our provider community. Models and demonstrations, fiscal challenges, and workforce issues are just some of the factors we must be thinking about now. 

Some of the most common questions we are grappling with are focused on “how?”
  • How do we rework the system?
  • How do we measure success?
  • How do we integrate innovations learned through the pandemic?
  • How do we improve the patient and family experience?
  • How do we continue to connect to purpose in our work?
NHPCO, AAHPM and HPNA recognize that we are in a period of healthcare transformation and that has informed the programmatic content of the 2021 Virtual Conference.
Get an Inside Look
We invite you to review the program agenda.
New in 2021
The Virtual Conference will take place on one afternoon, July 29, 1:00 to 5:30 p.m. ET. 

All conference content will be available on-demand through September 30, 2021, allowing you to revisit sessions of importance or catch something you might have missed.

Thanks to our 2021 Virtual Conference Supporter
The 2021 Virtual Conference is supported by an educational grant from Net Health