NASW Advocates for Change as Member of Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition

Feb 3, 2011

Coalition provides national leadership to assure a range of service options for patients & families affected by serious or life-limiting illnesses

NASW recently expanded its long-standing advocacy for hospice and palliative care by joining the Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition (HPCC), founded in 2001. Together with the other six coalition members (American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Center to Advance Palliative Care, Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, National  Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, and National Palliative Care Research Center), the Association has worked quickly to improve the quality of life for individuals and families in all settings who are affected by serious or life-limiting illnesses. For example, HPCC successfully advocated for CMS to add advance care planning as a covered service during Medicare annual wellness visits—a decision that, unfortunately, was rescinded by the Obama administration. HPCC also secured representation on the National Priorities Partnership, a group convened by the National Quality Forum (under contract with HHS) to address eight national priorities and goals:

•        Care coordination

•        Elimination of overuse

•        Equitable access

•        Infrastructure supports

•        Palliative and end-of-life care

•        Patient and family engagement

•        Population health

•        Safety

The organizational members of the Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition met at the NASW office in early December to discuss recent, current, and future opportunities for collaboration. Dialogue included strategies for developing consistent and supportive messages on behalf of the hospice and palliative care field. The Coalition affirmed its mission: to provide national leadership that assures a range of entry point options for service to patients and families with life-limiting illness. The Coalition accomplishes 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.

Organizational leaders present at the December 2010 meeting also 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.

The Coalition will continue to discuss and take action on regulatory and legislative issues, identify emerging trends and issues across the field, and exchange information regarding the activities of each organization.

Related NASW Resources

•        Social work practice in bereavement, end-of-life care, and palliative care

•        Occupational profile of social work in hospice and palliative care

•        WebEd courses related to palliative and end-of-life care

•        Other continuing education opportunities related to hospice and palliative care

•        Specialty certifications for hospice and palliative care social workers

•        Standards for palliative and end-of-life care

•        Policy statements regarding end-of-life and hospice care

•        Government relations and political action

•        NASW’s consumer website, Help Starts Here