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: www.socialworkers.org.

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.