Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition Leaders Commit to Collaboration; Aim to Speak with “One Voice”

The organizational members of the Hospice & Palliative Care Coalition met in Washington DC in December 2010 to discuss recent, current and future opportunities for collaboration including ways to develop consistent and supportive messages on behalf of the entire field of hospice and palliative care whenever possible.

The Coalition was founded in 2001 when the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM), the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA) and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) began meeting regularly by conference call. Since then, three others organizations have joined the coalition: The Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC), National Palliative Care Research Center (NPCRC) and National Association of Social Work (NASW). Over the years, the Coalition has met monthly to discuss regulatory and legislative issues, identify emerging trends and issues that cut across the field, and share information regarding the activities within each organization. In-person meetings are also held at least once a year.

During the most recent meeting, the Coalition reaffirmed its purpose and mission which is focused on providing national leadership to assure the availability of services and support for a broad range patients and families facing life-limiting illness.
Considerable discussion also centered around sensitivities surrounding language and consistent inclusion of key concepts and care settings when addressing on important issues, particularly those of interest to the general public and policymakers. The group agreed to use the inclusive phrase “hospice and palliative care” when describing the work of the coalition, and when taking action on behalf of the coalition on related activities and goals.

Participants in the recent meeting included: Ron Crossno, Sean Morrison and Steve Smith from AAHPM; Carol Sieger, Amber Jones and Diane Meier from CAPC; Susan Cox, Todd Hultman and Judy Lentz from HPNA; Betsy Clark, Stacy Collins and Chris Herman from NASW; Gretchen Brown, Judi Lund Person and Don Schumacher from NHPCO. Sean Morrison also represented NPCRC. Additional public policy staff and consultants joined the meeting in the afternoon to discuss collaborative efforts related to advocacy.

Those assembled also clarified the coalition would accomplish its mission by:

  • Identifying and supporting a common agenda relating to public policy, education and research; and;
  • Sustaining and enhancing access to high quality services that honor patient and family health care decisions
  • Creating opportunities for collaboration and communication among members, staff and volunteer leaders whenever possible and appropriate

Leaders from the coalition agreed the meeting was very productive and remain committed to continuing to work together to improve quality of life for patients and families living with serious and/or life-limiting illness in all settings.