Campaign promotes education, credentialing for hospice and palliative care

The Hospice and Palliative Care Nurses Association and two affiliated groups launched a $5 million campaign Monday to train nurses and other professionals to care for patients with serious illnesses.

The Advancing Expert Care Campaign has already raised about $1 million in gifts and pledges, according to an announcement from the groups published by Joining the nurses association in the campaign are the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Foundation and the Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center.

The campaign includes six core strategies: determining the educational needs of hospice and palliative professionals; designing educational programs for expert care in serious illness; promoting best-practices research; developing local and national nursing leadership programs; promoting nursing certification; and creating programs to increase the number of professionals certified in hospice and palliative care.

The groups noted that the need for skilled hospice and palliative care professionals is growing with the aging Baby Boomer population.

An Institute of Medicine report issued last month, "Dying in America," found the demand for family caregivers is growing, with fragmented end-of-life care sometimes leading to preventable hospitalizations. The report said the healthcare community must become more comfortable in talking with patients about end-of-life and palliative care, which improves quality of life.

Meanwhile, a recent study published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine found indications that inpatient palliative care might reduce costs and readmissions, especially when care is coordinated with hospice services following discharge.

The study, which looked at adult patients admitted to two western New York hospitals over a one-year period, found a 13 percent lower cost per admission for patients receiving palliative care than comparison patients, particularly in intensive care and laboratory services.

For more information:
- read the announcement
- here's the palliative care study abstract