Registration is now open for our spring summit. Join us and colleagues at the JFK Library in Boston on Tuesday, May 15, when we will share our most recent research findings and consider what’s required to sustain meaningful change in public attitudes around advance care planning. We will also engage attendees in a dialogue about our shared plans and opportunities for the upcoming year. Register Here!
March 2018 Newsletter
Coalition Annual Summit on May 15!
Beth Israel Deaconess and Red Sox Go to Bat for Healthcare Decisions Month
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), the Official Hospital of the Boston Red Sox and member of the Coalition, will be promoting Healthcare Decisions Month at every Red Sox home game during April. Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora will be featured in a video that will play during pre-game to remind baseball fans to name a health care proxy.
BIDMC has a focused, sustained effort underway to get all patients receiving primary care at the hospital to complete a health care proxy. And hospital leaders continue to improve their educational initiatives for internal medicine residents, covering all aspects of advance care planning and decision-making support for patients with serious illnesses.
Educating people about the importance of naming a health care proxy is a key component of ensuring that their wishes are known and respected. The BIDMC-Red Sox initiative helps further that shared goal through the promotion of Healthcare Decisions Month with the Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care.
Hospice & Palliative Care Federation Works to Improve Serious Illness Care
The Hospice & Palliative Care Federation of Massachusetts (HPCFM) has been educating families about serious illness and end-of-life care since 1980. Executive Director Christine McMichael, MA, LMHC, has been at the organization since July 2012. She and along with a membership coordinator support over 45 hospice members along with 80 palliative care, associate, and individual members. Last year, HPCFM member hospices served more than 26,000 patients and their families, representing 43 percent of all those who died in Massachusetts that year. “Each encounter with a patient, their family and their provider is an opportunity to make a difference,” said McMichael.” The organization does this by increasing awareness about hospice care, providing education, working collaboratively partners, and convening its annual conference in Norwood.
One of the most significant resources HPCFM provides to families is its hospice locator on the organization’s website. McMichael points out that “hospice is a vital service for care near the end-of-life,” and it is important for families to have a tool to help them navigate the health system. Understanding patients’ wishes and rights also helps ensure quality of care during a difficult time. The organization is planning to launch a locator for palliative care this spring as another tool for families and patients dealing with life-limiting illnesses.
Like many nonprofits, HPCFM relies on volunteers and partnerships to educate their members on end-of-life care options. Each month, the organization coordinates multiple webinars and educational sessions for hospice providers on various topics, including bereavement, spiritual care, quality, and compliance, among others.
“Having the conversation is key to effective advance care planning,” said McMichael. Through its partnership with Honoring Choices® Massachusetts and in conjunction with National Healthcare Decisions Day, the organization recently teamed up to promote the Health Care Planning Ambassador Program to engage people in having conversations around end-of-life care. The program provides volunteers with training in the Honoring Choices "Getting Started Tool Kit" to inform and inspire adults to make a personal health care plan. According to the Honoring Choices® website, ambassadors work closely with a network of community partners to help connect adults to essential care and services, educate them about health care proxy and personal directive documents, and to promote everyday healthy living.
Advocacy on both the national and state level is essential to help inform policy makers about the importance of high quality end-of-life care. To that end, HPCFM is active on Beacon Hill and Capitol Hill. In April, McMichael will lead a delegation of hospice and palliative care professionals to the Annual Advocacy Intensive in Washington, DC. This program enables hospice and palliative care leaders and supporters to learn first-hand about the political and policy issues affecting their organizations and the people they serve.
As part of the ongoing conversation about access to end-of-life care, HPCFM hosts an annual education conference. The 2018 program will kick off on Tuesday, November 6 with a preconference, followed by the General Conference on Wednesday and Thursday, November 7 and 8 at The Four Points Sheraton in Norwood, Mass. The gathering features a comprehensive offering of more than 20 workshops each day involving all disciplines related to end-of-life care. Frank Ostaseski, Resident and Director of the Metta Institute and Founder of Zen Hospice, will be the keynote speaker on November 8.
To learn more about the Hospice & Palliative Care Federation of Massachusetts, please visit www.hospicefed.org or call 781.255.7077.
If you have a story to share about your organization, please let us know! Contact Richard Averbuch at Richard.Averbuch@bcbsma.com.
National Healthcare Decisions Day is April 16
The Coalition is joining other national, state, and community organizations to support a nationwide effort to highlight the importance of advance health care decision-making: National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD). NHDD exists to inspire, educate, and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. During the week of April 16-22, we hope that you will join us in advocating for better public understanding of advance care planning. NHDD organizers are asking interested organizations and individuals throughout the country to help raise awareness about the importance of advance care planning on this special day—and throughout the year. For more information, please visit the NHDD site.
Discussion on Decision Aids at Harvard Law School
Join The Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC) and the Petrie-Flom Center at Harvard Law School on April 18 for the first-ever convening with leaders who have developed a Washington state experiment in certifying decision aids. Decision aids are tools that can be used by clinicians to help patients think through treatment options. State officials, health system leaders, and implementation experts will share lessons learned and discuss policy recommendations for national or statewide approaches to decision aid certification. Register Here.
PREPARE for Your Care is an online resource that helps people learn about and prepare for medical decision making. This evidenced based tool features video stories in English and Spanish and guides users as they explore their wishes and learn how to discuss them with family, friends, and medical providers. The website also offers PREPARE written pamphlets as well as a Toolkit to help put on a PREPARE Group Movie Event, which can be used in group medical visits or in the community. PREPARE also offers easy-to-read, legally-binding advance directives for all 50 states, including Mass. They are available in both English and Spanish.