CAPC News Bites

CAPC News Bites, What you need to know this week

Study: Early Palliative Care Cuts Costs

A new study in Health Services Research finds that palliative care delivered early during hospitalization can help minimize costs for those facing serious illness. The study aimed to guide hospital systems on how best to structure and utilize palliative care teams as well as measure potential cost savings from in-hospital palliative care teams.

The results show that “savings associated with palliative care were highest for patients who had a consult with a palliative care team within the first 10 days of their hospital stay and for patients diagnosed with cancer.” Savings also increased when “a palliative care team included more involvement of physicians and registered nurses.” Click here to read the full study.

AAHPM Launches Survey to Help Shape List of Cross-Cutting Quality Measures for Hospice and Palliative Care

Last fall, the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA) launched Measuring What Matters (MWM), a consensus project aimed at identifying a recommended portfolio of cross-cutting performance measures for all hospice and palliative care programs. AAHPM is now inviting input from stakeholder organizations, including patient advocacy organizations, in an effort to finalize this list of measures.

The current list has been narrowed to 12 published, existing quality metrics. Organizations are now invited to help determine the final list of measures that will be recommended for palliative care programs to use for program improvement. The deadline to complete the survey is August 4, 2014. Click here to access the survey.

This Week in Palliative Care Tweets

Check out what is trending on Twitter this week in the world of palliative care…

Did you see the Palliative Pulse?

The July issue of The Palliative Pulse features a heartwarming story on palliative care patient and advocate, Amy Berman’s palliative care journey; a guest blog by Dr. Sarah Friebert, Director of Akron Children’s Hospital’s Haslinger Family Pediatric Palliative Care Center; and much more. Click here to catch all the stories and don’t forget to subscribe to Palliative in Practice for all your palliative care news, stories and issues.

The Palliative Pulse, July 2014

Palliative Care: We are the Quarterbacks of our Care

Waving from the saddle of a camel. Jet skiing to the Statue of Liberty. Climbing the Great Wall of China.

This is what you’ll find Amy Berman—who was diagnosed with stage IV inflammatory breast cancer in October, 2010—doing these days. Since choosing palliative care and remaining in control of her own medical decisions, Amy says she is enjoying a “full life” of work, travel and quality time with loved ones.

“I did something so simple yet so rarely done. I chose the road less taken, and it led to better health, better care, and significantly lower cost,” said Amy in a recent Health Affairs blog post. Amy is a Senior Program Officer at the John J. Hartford Foundation, a proud mother and a staunch advocate of how palliative care can benefit anyone facing serious illness as well as their families.

This month, CAPC presents Amy’s story, in her own words and images, as a reminder of how palliative care empowers patients and families to match their goals with the care they receive.

 

Keeping Perspective and Moving Forward

By Sarah Friebert, MD

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My Journey to and in palliative care has been a series of steps both small and large (and forward and back), u-turns, roads taken and not, sprints, detours and a voice announcing “recalculating,” but through it all has been a sense of being led into this work in the first place and deeper in as time has gone on.

Over time, it’s easy to lose perspective on how important the work is, because it becomes what we do every day. Every once in a while though, something happens that makes me say, “THIS is why we do what we do.” Sometimes it’s a family’s spoken and unspoken relief at realizing they’re not alone. Sometimes it’s a measurable change in a child’s distressing symptoms because of an intervention we’ve implemented.

Recently, reward has come in the form of breaking through the myths and misconceptions surrounding palliative care and hearing families say, “When I first heard about palliative care, I thought: not for my child, but now I wish I had known about your team long ago.”

Persistence, education and presence are paying off, and if we keep going, access to high-quality palliative care will eventually be the norm for every child and family who could benefit from what we have to offer.

Dr. Friebert is the Director of Akron Children’s Hospital’s Haslinger Family Pediatric Palliative Care Center. Her program was recently featured in an article on pediatric palliative care published in The New Yorker.

 

 CAPC Membership: Institutions will never have to reinvent the wheel 

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CAPC becomes a membership organization in January 2015. With membership, institutions will become part of a vibrant collaborative network of healthcare professionals at the front lines of improving care for the sickest and most complex patients.

One membership fee will cover the cost of training, tools and expert resources for the entire staff of each member institution. Member-only benefits include: clinical and operational CME/CEU online training through multiple platforms; hands-on technical assistance focused on essential best practices and ready-to-use tools and resources; leadership skill-building to increase operational efficiency and effectiveness; virtual office hours with nationally recognized palliative care leaders from all settings; access to CAPC web conferences covering the most important topics in palliative care; discounts to the CAPC National Seminar; and more. For more information, visit www.capc.org/membership or contact CAPC directly to speak to a membership representative today.

Watch a video featuring nationally-recognized experts discussing CAPC’s tradition of excellence.

 

My Palliative Care Moment

Sharing the inspiring stories of why specialists choose palliative care as a career

This month’s moment comes from Dr. Stephen Berns, Asst. Professor of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. Watch Dr. Berns tell a personal story of when palliative care could have helped his loved ones during a difficult time.

 Want to contribute a story to the Palliative Pulse? Contact Dan.Altano@mssm.edu

 

CAPC News Bites

CAPC News Bites, What you need to know this week

A Soul Doctor and a Jazz Singer: A Palliative Care Story

“What does a good day look like to you?”

Do enough clinicians ask this question as well as other key questions that help bridge the communication gap between clinicians and patients facing serious illness? Lachlan Forrow, MD, Director of Palliative Care Programs at Beth Deaconess Medical Center, says no.

“We ourselves don’t often have the experience, the practice or the support we need to sit down with the patient as a human being, understand what’s important to them and make sure that that’s always at the center of every medical plan,” said Dr. Forrow in a heartwarming video recently produced by the Conversation Project. In the video, Dr. Forrow described how he asked his patient, Dolly Baker, who was facing a serious illness, what a good day looked like for her. Her response speaks to the essence of palliative care:

“Singing,” answered Dolly. Then, moments later, she proceeded to belt out a moving rendition of “What a Wonderful World.”

“Every time her voice started to sing, you could just see her eyes getting younger, her face getting younger and the human joy returning,” said Dr. Forrow.

While palliative care focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness (whatever the diagnosis), the goal is to improve quality of life for the patient so they can enjoy the things they love most as they deal with the illness. For Dolly, it was to sing like she always had before. Click here to watch the full video.

Palliative Care Heads to the Capital: PQLC Lobby Day

On July 23, over 19 organizations and their advocates are going to Washington D.C. to educate lawmakers on the value and impact of palliative care and to ask for support of quality of life bills. The Patient Quality of Life Coalition (PQLC)—formed to advance the interests of patients and families facing serious illness—put this event together to emphasize the importance of public policy in favor of better access to, education for, and research about palliative care. Follow the happenings before, on and after Lobby Day by using the Twitter hashtag #PQLC.

Upcoming CAPC Web Conference: Aligning Medication Management with Hospice Regulatory Mandates, Part 2

Join Joan Harrold, MD MPH and Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD MA BCPS CPE, for part 2 of CAPC’s exciting two-part web conference on hospice regulatory mandates. In part 1, participants learned about these mandates and why it is imperative that palliative care and hospice programs present a unified front. In part 2, participants will drill deeper into the specifics of medication management including actionable steps for “passing the torch” from a pharmaceutical perspective. Specific examples of disease- and symptom-based protocols and medication regimen reviews will be presented and discussed. To learn more and to register, click here.

 

CAPC News Bites

CAPC News Bites, What you need to know this week

Family Caregiving and Palliative Care: Closing The Policy Gap

Carol Levine and Carol O’Shaughnessy are putting the spotlight on the family caregivers who provide support for those facing serious illness. In a recent Health Affairs blog post, the two argue that support for family caregivers is not often included in palliative care policy discussions due in part to the lack of public knowledge about the complex roles these caregivers take on. Their call to action is for both the public and policy makers to take notice.

“As palliative care moves ‘upstream,’ that is, earlier in the course of illness, and into the ‘mainstream,’ as part of standard medical care, it is essential to bring family caregivers into the discussion, hear their concerns, and develop meaningful policy responses,” they say in the article.

To read the full story, click here.

Palliative Care Benefits Dementia Patients

Stephen Connor, Senior Fellow at the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA) has recently illustrated the value of palliative care for people with dementia and their families around the world. Stephen gives a history of how palliative care has grown to become a viable option for dementia patients after years of obstacles regarding the perception of this medical practice as well as the disease itself. As the number of dementia patients increases globally along with the aging population however, Stephen says the public is beginning to understand the importance of palliative care.

“Over time the apparent need for palliative care for people with dementia has become more accepted. Surprisingly only recently was it acknowledged that dementia itself is a cause of death (Mitchell et al, 2009),” says Stephen. Click here to read this informative post.

Video: Data Supports Palliative Care

Vital Options International, a not-for-profit cancer communications, support, and advocacy organization with a mission to facilitate a global cancer dialogue, has produced an impactful video featuring doctors throughout the world all answering the same question: Data in advanced cancer shows that palliative care given concurrently with standard anti-cancer treatment, extends life and reduces hospitalizations.  How should this evidence be integrated in oncology care today?

“What research shows is that the concurrent use of these approaches improves peoples quality of life, extends their lives and clearly plays a role in managing their depression, said Kathy Foley, MD, Attending Neurologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, who is one of the many specialists featured in the video. To watch, click here.

Take Advantage of the free Payer-Provider Toolkit: A reference guide for organizations leading the financing of health care

Thousands have already downloaded this free reference guide and toolkit intended for organizations leading the financing of health care (including commercial insurers, self-funded employers and federal and state government agencies) – and for providers working in shared risk arrangements. The Toolkit, published by CAPC in collaboration with the California HealthCare Foundation and the National Business Group on Health, defines palliative care and demonstrates its importance to improving value in health care; identifies opportunities to integrate palliative care into payer programs and products; highlights case examples from industry leaders demonstrating what payers are already doing to advance palliative care initiatives; provides tools, check lists and action plans to get you started; and much more. Download the toolkit today!

CAPC News Bites

CAPC News Bites, What you need to know this week

Registration Now Open for the 2014 CAPC National Seminar

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The CAPC National Seminar, being held November 13-15 at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, FL, offers in-depth content, rich networking opportunities and one-on-one access to expert faculty. Participants can learn from real-world examples of development and sustainability from palliative care programs in all clinical settings. Topics include community-based palliative care, advanced palliative care communications skills, the Catholic Health Ministry’s commitment to palliative care, generalist palliative care training, palliative care in health systems, and accountable care organizations, among others. Participants will also have the opportunity to hear from notable plenary speakers, including Senator William H. Frist, Sister Carol Keehan, DC, RN, MS, Diane E. Meier, MD, Graeme Rocker, MD and David Weissman, MD. Click here for more information or to register now.

Making the Case for how ACOs Can Benefit from the Palliative Care Model

The Advisory Board Counsel has published its second quarter edition of the General Counsel Agenda, a publication written for the hospital and health system in-house counsel audience. In this issue, the case is made for how accountable care organizations (ACOs) can benefit from utilizing palliative care services.

“For good reason, post-acute care generally, and hospice and palliative care particularly, are becoming regarded as important contributors to ACO success in raising quality and bending the health care cost curve,” says author Julian “Bo” Bobbitt, Jr. in the article. To read the full case, click here.

Diane Meier Joins GenConnect to Discuss Palliative Care

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GenConnect—an online platform connecting unique visitors with content experts through multimedia—recently interviewed Director of CAPC, Diane E. Meier, MD, to discuss how palliative care can benefit patients dealing with serious illness. In the interview, Dr. Meier explained how palliative care differs from hospice care and how it can be implemented at any stage of an illness. To watch the full video, click here.

2014 Decision Guides Now Available

The Coalition for Compassionate Care of California (CCCC) has released a new tool to assist healthcare professionals who treat seriously-ill patients in talking with patients about their treatment wishes. Decision Guides is an educational series that explains the complex topic of life-sustaining treatments, using consumer-friendly language along with evidence-based information. The Guides were developed with the help and guidance of healthcare professionals, and reflect the latest research on these interventions. Click here to learn more and to purchase Decision Guides.

CAPC Web Conference: Aligning Medication Management with Hospice Regulatory Mandates

Join presenters Joan Harrold, MD MPH, and Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD MA BCPS CPE, for a two-part web conference beginning July 9. Part 1 of this series will discuss the critical evaluation process of determining utility and futility of medications in order to provide precise pharmacotherapeutic regimens for patients. The presenters will detail how this process will not only assure optimal medication management outcomes for the patient, but will assist hospice providers in meeting regulatory mandates. In part 2, which will be held July 23, participants will drill deeper into the specifics of medication management including actionable steps for “passing the torch” from a pharmaceutical perspective. Specific examples of disease- and symptom-based protocols and medication regimen reviews will be presented and discussed. Click here to register.

 

 

 

CAPC News Bites

CAPC News Bites, What you need to know this week

Growth with Purpose

The Social Impact Exchange has published an article by Diane E. Meier, MD, Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC), as part of a blog series featuring nonprofit leaders discussing their plans for growth and the resources needed to fund their campaigns. Dr, Meier’s article, Growth with Purpose, is a recap of her recent presentation given at the 2014 Conference on Scaling Impact, which highlighted the continued success of CAPC’s mission to increase access to palliative care for people facing serious illness as well as their families, and explained how moving to a model that gains support from user-funded membership fees is key to the organization’s growth.

“This strategy will 1) further align service design with constituent needs; 2) create a business model that is more scalable (services can grow with user interest); and 3) build the secure platform that will be necessary to develop and disseminate the new “CAPC-Community” initiatives,” says Dr. Meier in the article. Click here to read the full story.

Pediatric Palliative Care Programs Growing to Support Seriously Ill

Studies are showing that a growing number of children’s hospitals have established palliative care programs over the past ten years.  For example, out of the 162 children’s hospitals that answered a survey by CAPC’s Pediatric Advisory Board, 69 percent have reported having a pediatric palliative care program. According to Jennifer Larson—contributor to TravelNursing.com—however, there is still a need in many communities for sufficient pediatric palliative care programs as well as a need for better awareness of the benefits to this type of care.

To address this issue, the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) has launched an initiative to heighten awareness of the benefits of pediatric palliative care. Along with defining and enforcing what this service can provide to patients and their families, the campaign emphasizes the importance of conversation between patients, families, and their providers. To learn more and to hear from experts in this field, click here.

Deadline to Submit 2013 Data to The National Palliative Care Registry™ is June 30

The National Palliative Care Registry™ is the only repository of operational data on palliative care programs in U.S. hospitals. Now is your chance to compare your palliative care team’s progress with national trends such as staffing ratios, inpatient consult volume, palliative care integration in the hospital and other key metrics. Submit your team’s complete 2013 data by June 30 and receive a comprehensive performance report. This important document will help you improve performance and value. Submit your data today at registry.capc.org.

 

CAPC News Bites

CAPC News Bites, What you need to know this week

Why palliative care is valuable for patients and hospitals

HealthLeaders Media recently spoke with Turner West, Director of Education and Community Programs at Hospice of the Bluegrass, on how palliative care can increase value at hospitals in areas such as mortality, readmissions and patient satisfaction.

“Palliative care is high-quality care for patients and high-value care for hospitals. As a result of effective pain and symptom management and aligning medical treatments with a patient’s preferences and values, the hospital experience is transformed both for the patient and the hospital,” says West in the article.

To read the full interview click here.

Palliative Care helps quicken the healing process

Stephen J. Bekanich, M.D., Co-Director of Seton Palliative Care in Austin, TX, recently sat for an interview on KXAN news to discuss the many benefits of palliative care. Dr. Bekanich took the opportunity to underline three roles of the palliative care team: 1) managing symptoms 2) serving as both the communicator and educator to the patient and 3) ensuring that the patient’s family is well-informed and supported. To watch this short but effective interview, click here.

Symposium: Recent developments in phase I oncology trials: Implications for ethics, palliative care, and society

On July 15 and 16, the Brocher Foundation of Switzerland will be holding an international symposium exploring the scientific, ethical and social dimensions of phase 1 clinical trials in cancer. Among other topics, the symposium will include a discussion of the potential involvement of palliative care to maximize patient-centered outcomes.  Twelve speakers (6 from Europe and 6 from the US), will lead the group of attendees in discussion. Click here for more information and to register.

How Payers are Supporting Palliative Care – June 24 CAPC Webinar

Join Tom Gualtieri-Reed, Healthcare Consultant at Spragens & Associates, LLC, and Emily Warner, Senior Policy Analyst at CAPC, on an important web conference that will introduce and review the newly-launched payer-provider toolkit. The toolkit, entitled “Improving the Care of Serious Illness through Innovative Payer-Provider Partnerships,” describes the ways in which payers are supporting palliative care for their members with serious illness and is intended to assist payers and providers in partnering to address the needs of this population. Click here to register.

 

 

 

The Palliative Pulse, June 2014

What Palliative Care is and Why it Matters

This month, CAPC presents the perspectives of palliative care specialists, patients and advocates as they discuss how palliative care can benefit anyone facing a serious illness.

 

It takes a Team

Caring for the whole person takes a highly skilled and diverse team of specialists, says Emily Chai, MD, Associate Professor of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. With palliative care, like any good sports team, if each member plays his or her part well, they will find collective success.  This growing specialty includes a wide range of team members such as physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains and more all working together to add an extra layer of support for patients facing a serious illness as well as their families.

Watch Dr. Chai discuss how her team combines effort and expertise to provide quality palliative care to patients and families.

 

Introducing the Payer-Provider Toolkit:

A reference guide for organizations leading the financing of health care

CAPC has published, in collaboration with the California HealthCare Foundation and the National Business Group on Health, a new reference guide and toolkit intended for organizations leading the financing of health care (including commercial insurers, self-funded employers and federal and state government agencies) – and for providers working in shared risk arrangements.

The Toolkit defines palliative care and demonstrates its importance to improving value in health care; identifies opportunities to integrate palliative care into payer programs and products; highlights case examples from industry leaders demonstrating what payers are already doing to advance palliative care initiatives; provides tools, check lists and action plans to get you started; and much more. Download the toolkit today!

 

My Palliative Care Moment

Sharing the inspiring stories of why specialists choose palliative care as a career

This month’s moment comes from Dr. Stacie Pinderhughes, an Internist who specializes in geriatric medicine and palliative care at Banner Health in Phoenix, Arizona. Watch her discuss how her mentors motivated her to make palliative care her focus:

Want to watch more palliative care related videos? Subscribe to CAPC’s official YouTube channel.

 

CAPC News Bites

CAPC News Bites, What you need to know this week

Study finds a need for more palliative care options for dialysis patients

Many dialysis patients need palliative care but in many cases this option is not available to them according to a new study in the National Kidney Foundation’s American Journal of Kidney Diseases. Over 900 qualitative studies identified five themes dialysis patients face daily including invasive suffering, personal vulnerability, relational responsibility, negotiating existential tensions and preparedness.

“We often fail to realize that while dialysis can help extend life for the majority of patients, it does not restore health. It is therefore imperative that we invest resources into improving the quality of life for patients with ESRD,” says co-author of the study Katharine Cheung, MD, of University of Vermont College of Medicine. Click here to read more.

Palliative care teams relieve pressure on acute services

A study on the impact of community based, specialist palliative care teams on hospitalizations and emergency department visits in Ontario, Canada, showed that “specialist palliative care teams (whether in the community, hospital, or inpatient hospices) consistently deliver better symptom control, more satisfaction with care, improved quality of life, and better outcomes for families.” The study also pointed to evidence showing that provision of palliative care can lead to cost savings, largely through reduction in hospital admissions, and reduction in acute interventions. Click here to read the full findings.

The Partnership for Palliative Care launches blog initiative

As part of a larger campaign to increase public education on palliative care, the Partnership for Palliative Care—an independent patient advocate non-profit program promoting the expansion of palliative care through research, advocacy, and public education—has launched a blog initiative. The Restoring Quality of Life Blog features stories about the “faces” of palliative care: patients, caregivers, providers and educators.

Call for poster abstract submissions for the CAPC National Seminar 2014

CAPC is now soliciting poster submissions for the Poster Session at the CAPC Seminar being held on November 13-15 at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, FL.  The purpose of the Poster Session is to showcase palliative care program solutions to common problems. For more information and to submit, click here.

 

 

CAPC News Bites

CAPC News Bites, What you need to know this week

A New Direction for Education and Training

In Health Affairs, Charles F. von Gunten and Betty Ferrell have penned an important article on the need for better palliative care education. In the post, the two discuss how the current approach to care needs a systematic change to reflect a population that lives longer but requires support that goes beyond curative treatment.

“Palliative care is the responsibility of all physicians. This includes basic approaches to the relief of suffering and improving quality of life for the whole person and his or her family. It also includes the establishment of overall goals to care for those with serious illness,” they say in the post. Click here for the full story.

Palliative Care: Life-Changing Support for Those Facing Cancer

Rebecca Kirch, JD, Director of Quality of Life and Survivorship for the American Cancer Society, has guest posted in Everyday Health to define and underline the benefits of palliative care for cancer patients. Rebecca says palliative care creates a reality where patients are treated beyond their disease. She also details the differences between palliative care and hospice and shares the uplifting story of patient and advocate, Amy Berman, who is a living example of a cancer patient who chose palliative care and has benefited greatly in the process. Click here for more.

Research Supports Palliative Care

Two studies were published this week showing the benefits of palliative care services when utilized earlier in an illness on both the patient and caregiver side.

Patients With Advanced Cancer Benefit When Palliative Care Starts Earlier

Results from a randomized trial conducted in outpatient clinics concluded that patients with advanced cancer reported better quality of life and satisfaction when choosing early specialized palliative care.

“The traditional view of palliative care is end-of-life measures, but over the past 10 years, specialized palliative care has been evolving into finding ways to improve quality of life earlier on. Our study results can help map the way forward,” says Camilla Zimmermann, MD, the study’s principal investigator. To read the full story, click here.

Early, phone-based, palliative care support improves caregiver quality of life and patient survival

According to research conducted by University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing investigators, the earlier a specific phone-based, palliative care support program can be introduced to caregivers, the better they will be able to cope with the caregiving experience.

“Family caregivers are a crucial part of the patient-care team. Because the well-being of one affects the well-being of the other in a reciprocal way, both parties benefit when caregivers receive palliative care,” says Marie Bakitas, D.N.Sc., associate director in the Center for Palliative and Supportive Care. Click here to read the full article.

 

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