NHHPCO's Success is Thanks to You

It's time to renew your membership.

Your renewed membership is vital to NHHPCO's continued sustainability. Please be sure to renew your membership now. Visit our Membership page for more on the many benefits of joining, along with registration forms.

Thank you for your support!

The Ira Byock & Yvonne Corbeil Award

The deadline is approaching for the 4th Annual Ira Byock & Yvonne Corbeil award, which will be presented at our annual meeting on Friday, June 24th.
Nominations will be accepted through Thursday, April 28.

If you know of an outstanding individual, team or organization in Northern New England who has demonstrated innovation and collaboration to improve quality, expand access, and/or increase efficiency in delivering the best end-of-life care possible to New Hampshire residents, hurry and tell us all about them!

Our Thanks to Hospice Volunteers

"You sit with people who are dying and you don't get paid? Why would you want to do that?"

Have you ever heard something similar from a hospice patient or family member that you have visited? It is a familiar refrain that highlights the fact that many people would not be comfortable doing what hospice volunteers provide for support. Whether it is driving someone to a doctor's appointment, sitting vigil at the bedside or leading a bereavement support group, hospice volunteers give invaluable time and compassion to families at a critical point in time. It is work that feeds the soul and brings unexpected moments of joy.

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) estimates that in 2014, 430,000 hospice volunteers provided 19 million hours of service. NHPCO reports that most volunteers were assisting with direct support (60.8%), 20.2% provided clinical care support, and 19.1% provided general support. In 2014, 5.2% of all clinical staff hours were provided by volunteers. The typical hospice volunteer devoted 46.3 hours of service over the course of the year and patient care volunteers made an average of 201 visits to hospice patients.

The Windows Within Project dedicates its work to all the hospice patients and families who have been our wisest and most generous teachers, providing wonderful stories and quotes from hospice volunteers on their website.

In honor of National Volunteer Week (April 10-16) NHHPCO extends sincere thanks and gratitude to the many hospice volunteers giving time to families in New Hampshire as well as the hospice volunteer managers who make it happen!

"I see and ponder that space between birth and death,
trying to make sure I live every day better than the last."
- Tony Diana, Hospice Volunteer
The Windows Within Project

PAS Survey Results are in

Senate Bill 426 proposes to "establish an end-of-life choices study commission". This legislation has just been passed/adopted by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. It moves on to the House Judiciary Committee in a few weeks. If this passes into law, the mission of this committee is to "investigate the positive and negative effects of legislation in states that have enacted aid in dying laws". NHHPCO would have one of the 11 seats on the commission.

Similar versions of this bill have been proposed in many other states over the past two years. In an effort to understand the views of our members, we have been offering a brief survey. After discussion by our board of directors, NHHPCO is neither supporting or opposing this legislation.

Results currently indicate that:

  • Most prefer to refer to it as 'physician assisted suicide'.
  • 60% of survey participants are personally in favor of legalizing PAS, whereas 48% are professionally in favor of it.
  • Just over 19% have changed their opinion on the subject in the past few years.

Thanks to those of you who have already taken our short survey. There is still time to weigh in on this important issue. You can also listen to NHPR's The Exchange, Debating Physician-Assisted Suicide: The Risks vs The Right to Choose.

NHHPCO Participates in Advance Directive Survey

In honor of National Health Care Decisions Day, NHHPCO took part in a NH Health Care Decisions Coalition project to determine how many patients in our state report having completed Advanced Directives.

For the past few years, NH hospitals and hospice providers have been asked to complete one day audits of their patient records. Results indicate that roughly one third of hospital-based patients complete advanced directives, which is in line with the national average.

Hospice providers report 88% of patients have advanced directives on admission to hospice, a number which increases to 90% once a person receives hospice-based care.

In addition to basic advanced directive forms, this year's survey of hospice providers show 36% of patients have a portable DNR on admission and 6% had a POLST form in place.

NHHPCO Responds to the Statewide Opioid Crisis

As a result of the NHHPCO Fall Conference panel discussion “Medication Management - Safe Transitions in Care” a working group has been formed under the leadership of Phil Lawson, MD, to review the work of the state Drug Task Force and resulting emergency rules to protect access to pain medication for patients receiving palliative care and hospice while also reducing the opportunities for diversion.

Please let us know if you are interested in joining this group by contacting Janice McDermott at jmcdermott@nhhpco.org

NHHPCO is also partnering with the NH Comprehensive Cancer Collaboration’s Quality of Life Task Force to assess the current practice in our state to improve outcomes for cancer patients who report unmanaged pain. A $1,000 grant has been awarded to create a patient and provider education tool to raise awareness of evidence based non-pharmacological pain management techniques. The QOL Task Force co-chairs are Janice McDermott, NHHPCO and Chris Howard, Oncology Resource Coordinator Elliot Regional Cancer Center and members include representatives from cancer centers statewide.

Therapeutic Cannabis in the Granite State

Ready or not, in March 2016, therapeutic cannabis will be distributed in four sites in NH. Visit our News page for more about the process involved, qualifications, and site locations.

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