Theresa Bianchi, M.Div.,BCC, Chaplain, Manchester VNA Hospice, APRN, MSN, FNP-BC, CHPN, Central NH VNA & Hospice; Dan Kusch, M.Ed, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Central NH VNA & Hospice; and Margaret,"Peggy", McLean, APRN, MSN, FNP-BC, CHPN, Central VNA & Hospice have all been selected to receive a scholarship to attend the American Academy of Hospice & Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) Annual Assembly on March 14-17 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, MA.
When our donor was told that we had three applicants with great credentials and solid reasons for wanting this opportunity, he immediately offered to extend his offer to also support the third registration fee. NHHPCO is pleased to be able to host this special offer and the staff at AAHPM are thrilled that you will be attending.
Our three recipients will be invited to the Joint Peer Network Group meeting in June to share insights and information that they bring back from the Annual Assembly.
New VP of VNA Manchester & Southern NH
Welcome back to Rachel Chaddock, MSHA, RN, who has been appointed to the position of Vice President, Visiting Nurse Association of Manchester and Southern New Hampshire.
Rachel has always held a warm place in her heart for the Manchester VNA, as she was previously part of the team as the Director of Home Health Services for 14 years from 1998-2009.
Over the past eight years Rachel has as Executive Director Circle Home, Inc. in Lowell, MA. During her tenure there, Rachel led the organization through many changes, including closer alignment with the health system, strategic planning initiatives, a name change and rebranding campaign, relocation of the facility, a 40% increase in patient census, development of new innovative programs, and attaining patient satisfaction scores above the state and national benchmark.
Welcome the New CEO of Central NH VNA & Hospice
Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice is excited to announce that Lisa Dupuis, OTRL, MBA has been hired as the next CEO of the agency.
Lisa brings twenty-seven years of healthcare experience to her new role, including ten years in leadership of non-profit home health providers in Connecticut. She has strengths in promoting education, quality care and emphasizing effectiveness and efficiency. Lisa is a strong believer in recruiting and retaining staff by being an employer of choice, providing support and recognizing team and individual achievements. Lisa is a licensed Occupational Therapist and has an MBA with a concentration in Healthcare from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT. She is pursuing a Master's Degree in Healthcare Informatics at Sacred Heart as well. For the past nine years she has been an Administrator and President/CEO of Constellation Health Services in Norwalk, CT and the Visiting Nurse Association of South Central Connecticut in New Haven, CT.
As CEO, Lisa will advocate for increased community healthcare provider collaboration with an emphasis on the successful transition of patient care from one provider to the next. Lisa has been an active advocate for home healthcare at both the community level and in the State of Connecticut legislative processes. Lisa and her family (husband Mark, sons Nicholas, 23 and Justin, 20 and their dogs Baxter and Zoey) have spent many summer months on Sawyer Lake in Gilmanton and she is very familiar with the New Hampshire quality of life. She is excited about a more permanent home in Gilmanton and stepping into her leadership role at Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice.
Congratulations to Journey Home Thrift
Congratulations to Journey Home Thrift owner Janet Hamilton, who recently opened a third location in Dover NH.
Since opening in the summer of 2011, the North Hampton and Barrington shops continue to thrive and provide monetary donations to local Hospice providers. NHHPCO has also received donations over the past six years, including a recent generous donation of $500 - thank you Janet! Monetary donations are critical to allow NHHPCO to continue its' work promoting hospice and palliative care in New Hampshire.
Journey Home helps support hospice while also benefiting community members by providing great deals on gently used items. Click here for more information and store locations.
NH Comprehensive Cancer Collaboration members Don McDonah, MD and Chris Howard, LICSW, OSW-C, recently presented the results of the "Mapping Palliative Care in NH" survey that was completed by the Quality of Life Task Force earlier this year.
The findings were discussed during a breakout session at the NHHPCO Annual Conference.
Congrats to Cornerstone Hospice!
Cornerstone Hospice, a nonprofit home health and hospice organization located in Rochester, NH, has been awarded the Strategic Healthcare Programs Best Superior Performer Patient Satisfaction Award for the 2016 calendar year.
This award is given for superior performance in Hospice Caregiver Satisfaction and reflects a top 20% overall score. "We strive for excellence in every aspect of our patient services and to receive this validation from the families we serve is extremely rewarding," states June Gallup, RN, MS, HCS-D, COS-C, BCHH-C, quality improvement director, Cornerstone VNA.
Hello NHHPCO and HCANH Members,
Thank you to all who responded to the recent survey sent by Joan Hull of CompassWise Consulting. We were pleased that many of you took the time to give Joan your thoughts on the possibility of our two organizations coming together into one entity.
Joan has met with directors of both organizations and reports an overwhelmingly positive sentiment in the surveys for our organizations to merge. There were also some common themes that emerged. As a result, we have formed a Task Force comprised of six members from each organization to start mapping out a possible plan. Task Force Members include:
- Janice McDermott, Executive Director
- Andrea Patrick-Baudet from Cornerstone VNA & Hospice
- Peg Gilmour, healthcare consultant and former state senator
- Bruce Mast from Bruce Mast Associates
- Don McDonah from St. Joseph Hospital Palliative Care Program and
- Dimitri Panacopoulos from BerryDunn
- Gina Balkus, CEO
- Sandy Ruka, CEO, VNS, Home Care, and Hospice of Carroll County
- Jim Culhane, CEO, Lake Sunapee VNA and Hospice
- David Emberly, CFO, Central NH VNA and Hospice
- Beth Slepian, CEO, Concord Regional VNA and Hospice
- Rick Petersen, CEO, Interim Healthcare
The Task Force members have been assigned to sub-groups to address:
- Dues Structure Models
- Mission Statement
- Keeping the "essence" of NHHPCO without losing that of HCANH, and
- Due Diligence
The process is just beginning and if all goes smoothly will be completed in 2018. We will keep you informed along the way. Please feel free to contact Janice or Gina if you have questions.
Foundation for Healthy Communities Announces New Executive Director
Concord – The Foundation for Healthy Communities is pleased to announce that it has named Peter Ames as its new Executive Director, effective August 14, 2017. Ames succeeds Shawn LaFrance who spent nearly 20 years with the Foundation for Healthy Communities, serving as its Executive Director since 2008.
Ames comes to the Foundation for Healthy Communities from the American Cancer Society, where he served in various roles working with health care leaders and community partners to advance quality improvement and health promotion.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome someone of Peter’s caliber to the Foundation for Healthy Communities team,” stated Steve Ahnen, president of the Foundation’s affiliated organization, the New Hampshire Hospital Association. “Peter is extremely mission driven and has achieved tremendous success in developing strategic partnerships that advance health and health care for individuals and communities throughout New England, and we know he’ll continue that success on behalf of the Foundation.”
As a vital member the American Cancer Society’s leadership team, Ames most recently served as the Senior Director of State Health Systems where he led the organization’s regional efforts to promote quality improvement, public health intervention efforts and health promotions through strategic partnerships. In addition, he has extensive background in grant acquisitions and management, as well as program oversight, delivery and evaluation, ensuring continued success in program and organizational goals.
“Peter has already demonstrated his commitment for the vision of the Foundation through his service on several program committees, and I think his passion combined with his leadership will serve the Foundation, its partners and the communities we serve extremely well,” offered Anne Diefendorf, Associate Executive Director and Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety at the Foundation, who also served as the Acting Executive Director.
“We couldn’t be more grateful to Anne for her leadership and guidance while she served as Acting Executive Director, and extend our deepest appreciation for her guidance to the staff and Board during this transition,” added Ahnen.
NH Becomes Endorsed POLST State
The National POLST Paradigm Task Force has approved the application submitted by the Foundation for Healthy Communities to make NH an endorsed state.
Check out the POLST map online: we are on it! Congratulations and thanks to you for your diligence and vision in gaining this endorsement.
NH Represented in DC!
Over 230 Hospice advocates from across the US gathered on Capitol Hill during the Hospice Action Network Advocacy Intensive held July 17 & 18.
NHHPCO was represented by Janice McDermott, accompanied by Florence Exantus, a NH resident who currently works at Care Dimensions in Danvers, MA. Together, they visited the offices of Senators, Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen as well as Congresswomen Annie Kuster and Carol Shea Porter to discuss proposed hospice and palliative care legislation. Thanks were given to Senator Shaheen for co-sponsoring the Rural Access to Hospice Act and to Congresswoman Kuster for signing in support of this bill.
Support from our legislators was also requested for:
- Patient Choice and Quality Care Act (S1334/HR2797)
- Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA) (S693/HR1675)
- Medicare Patient Access to Hospice Act (HR1284)
Your voice is needed to encourage our leaders to take action and to thank them for their support of hospice and healthcare in NH. We are so fortunate to have four seasoned representatives in Washington who understand and support the work that we do.
Annual Meeting Announcement
NHHPCO and the Home Care Association of NH (HCANH) held a joint Annual Meeting on Friday June 23rd. This is the sixth year that our two organizations have collaborated on this event.
NHHPCO Board President, Andrea Patrick-Baudet (photo, right) and HCANH Board President, Sandy Ruka (photo, left), kicked off the morning with a welcome to all followed by the announcement that our two organizations recently agreed to explore an even closer alignment. The executive committees of NHHPCO and HCANH have previously met to discuss a formal affiliation, and have recently agreed to hire Joan Hull of Compass Consulting to guide us through the process of determining what an affiliation might look like.
It's an exciting time for our organizations, and our goal is to keep our members engaged and informed. We share mutual goals of offering home health, hospice and palliative care professionals opportunities for education, networking and advocacy, as well as promoting high quality, cost-effective care. Joan will be reaching out to members in the coming weeks for your input. In the meantime, if you have questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to Andrea firstname.lastname@example.org or Janice email@example.com.
National Healthcare Decisions Day
Honoring Care Decisions Event
In Honor of National Health Care Decision Day, April 16th, NHHPCO invited Senator Shaheen, Senator Hassan, Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster and Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter to attend events hosted by healthcare and hospice organizations to discuss Advanced Care Planning.
An event held on Monday April 17th at Dartmouth Hitchcock - Nashua called Honoring Care Decisions was attended by Staff member Meredith Shevitz, Special Assistant for Policy & Projects, from Senator Hassan's office.
The 90 minute session was facilitated by Terri Desrochers, RN, Dartmouth Hitchcock, Honoring Care Decisions Program Coordinator. It included an overview of the purpose of advanced care planning, the individual considerations that are important when making these decisions and an explanation of the legal forms for New Hampshire. The Honoring Care Decisions Program is offered monthly in several statewide locations.
NHHPCO Participates in Annual Advance Directive Survey
NHHPCO also 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.
This year Hospice providers report 67% of patients have advanced directives on admission to hospice, in contrast to 85 - 90 % in past years. Since this is not the trend we want to see, I would love your thoughts on why this might be.
In addition to basic advanced directive forms, this year's survey of hospice providers show 63% of patients have a portable DNR on admission and 63% had a POLST form in place. These are greatly improved percentages from 2016!
We thank those who participated!
Members Tour the Manchester VA Medical Center
On March 30th, NHHPCO members met with the Palliative Care Team at the VA Medical Center in Manchester for a tour of their six bed unit.
|NHHPCO Members visit VA Medical Center in Manchester|
We had time for conversation and questions, which will go a long way to help us give the best care possible for the Veterans in our state who depend on both of our services when needing end of life care.
Our ongoing efforts for collaboration between hospice teams and VA staff is welcomed by all. Care of the patient and family is our primary concern and many wonderful and heartwarming initiatives are provided to Veterans by Hospice staff and by VA staff.
We thank Dr. Ritamarie Moscala and Rev. Gary Rolph for their leadership and efforts to bring us all together.
2017 NH Top Docs Lauded
Congratulations to the following Hospice & Palliative Care "2017 Top Doctors" listed in the April edition of New Hampshire magazine!
- Lisa Leinau, M.D., Chesire / DHK, Hospice Med. Director, Home Healthcare Hospice & Community Services, Keene
- Sarah MacDuffie, D.O., The Edgewood Centre, Portsmouth Regional Hospital Palliative Care Program
- Don McDonah, M.D., St. Joseph Hospital Palliative Care
Baudet Appointed to NHPCO Quality & Standards Committee
Congratulations to NHHPCO Board Chair, Andrea Patrick-Baudet, RN, CHPN, CHPCA, Hospice Director, Cornerstone VNA, who was selected to serve on the NHPCO Quality & Standards Committee for the next two years.
This committee is responsible for promoting quality end-of-life care including systematic ongoing review and revision of the Standards document to ensure compliance with regulations and best practices. The committee also assists in developing performance measures and QAPI program support materials. New Hampshire will surely benefit from Andrea's participation in this important work.
The purpose of the Board is to safeguard life, health, and the public welfare of the people of this state and to protect the people of the state of New Hampshire from the unauthorized, unqualified, and improper application of services by individuals in the practice of nursing. Jennifer Laramie has worked at Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice for 12 years and says, "I really enjoy taking care of people...the patients are what keep me coming back every day." She is excited about representing RNs on the Board of Nursing and looks forward to serving on the Board for the next three years.
For more information view the press release.
NHPCO announced that its board of directors has selected Edo Banach, JD, as the organization's next president and chief executive officer, effective February 22, 2017. Banach will succeed J. Donald Schumacher, PsyD, who has led the organization since 2002. Read more about the new appointment here.
Letter to Trump
2017 promised to be an interesting and busy one, no matter who became President of the US. In this letter, current NHPCO President and CEO J. Donald Schumacher outlines key issues concerning hospice and palliative care, and asks President Trump what he will do to help ensure that the nation's frailest and most vulnerable populations - those with serious and life-limiting illness - are able to access the care they want and deserve.
Representing You on Capitol Hill
Nearly 250 hospice advocates gathered on Capitol Hill this past July for the annual Advocacy Intensive of the Hospice Action Network and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
New Hampshire was well represented by Janice McDermott, NHHPCO Exec. Director, Beth Slepian, CRVNA President/CEO, Laurie Farmer, CRVNA VP of Hospice Services and Niambia Mercado, Senior Graduate Student at Antioch University. Meetings were held with staffers at the offices of Senators Shaheen and Ayotte as well as Congresswoman Kuster and Congressman Guinta. We were able to convey special thanks to Sen. Shaheen via her Legislative Correspondent, Eric Waskowicz for sponsoring the Rural Access to Hospice Act [S 2786] - see below. Please send your thanks if you have an opportunity to connect with her or her staff.
Advocates provided lawmakers with information about three policy issues that could affect the hospice community:
- Personalize Your Care Act of 2016 [HR 5555], which allows individuals with chronic and advanced illness to receive both conventional, curative treatments along with hospice and palliative care services.
- Rural Access to Hospice Act [S 2786], which addresses statutory barriers that restrict some patients' primary care physician from becoming their attending physician during hospice care.
- Care Planning Act [S 1549], which creates a new Medicare benefit for care planning services offered by a hospice-like interdisciplinary team.
In addition to the in-person advocacy action, supporters around the country were encouraged to participate virtually by contacting elected officials in an outreach effort coordinated by Hospice Action Network's Virtual Hill Day. Visit NHPCO's website for more information.
Honoring Marie Kirn
Community Members and Hospice and Palliative Care Professionals in the Upper Valley came together on October 6th to honor Marie Kirn as she prepares to retire to Maine.
Marie is a founding member of the hospice movement in NH and a true grassroots champion for social change. She raised money for hospice by packing churches in the 1980s to hear about death and dying. A fierce advocate for hospice since those early days, Marie has the rare quality of being as inspirational and compassionate for the human condition as she is practical about the need to fundraise to make services available for our community members.
In tandem with developing hospice services in the Monadnock Region, Marie joined with hospice directors in our state to form what is now NH Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. She signed the application to be incorporated by our state and was Executive Director of then NH Hospice Organization from 1993-1994. Marie has gone on to lead larger organizations and has been instrumental in the development of Palliative Care services at DHMC, including finding partners to fund the soon to be built palliative care center on the Lebanon campus. We owe much to Marie Kirn and wish her all the best in her new home!
NAHC recently called hospices to legislative action, and the Corridor Group issued a summary of the NAHC position. Congress will recess in August, and hospices are urged to use this time to connect with their leaders. Among the issues that hospice leaders are urged to encourage lawmakers to take action on are:
- Rescind or rework the face-to-face physician encounter requirement, and overturn claims denials related to this.
- Refuse the attempts to include hospice within the Medicare Advantage Benefit package. Empower PA's to operate as attending physicians for hospice.
- Safeguard the Medicare Hospice Benefit.
- Deny any attempt to cut federal funding for Medicaid.
The NAHC article includes links to background information, talking points, and sample messages for each issue.
On Tuesday 24 May, Volunteer NH, in partnership with the Governor's office, hosted the Annual Governor's Conference on Volunteerism at NHTI in Concord. Each year during the conference, the Governor's Outstanding Volunteer Manager of the Year Award is presented to honor volunteer administrators and salute their excellence in leadership and management of volunteers in New Hampshire. This year, Governor Maggie Hassan presented the award to Home Health & Hospice Care volunteer manager Tanya Prather.
Tanya is the foundation of the volunteer program at Home Health & Hospice Care. She manages over 250 volunteers and provides an intensive 33-hour hospice training course 2-3 times a year for new volunteers that wish to work directly with patients and their families.
Home Health & Hospice Care patients are offered unique programs such as pet therapy, Reiki, and bedside music that help connect patients and families to what gives them joy and peace, even in difficult times. Through these programs and other services, Tanya helps her volunteers to focus not only on the physical aspects of a patient's illness, but the whole person on the hospice journey. Please join us in congratulating Tanya on receiving this prestigious award!
"You sit with people who are dying and you don't get paid? Why would you want to do that?"
|Image CC Jonas Boni: Rapprochment|
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
A class of 20 health professionals participated in POLST Facilitator training on March 30, bringing the total to over 300 people who have completed the POLST Community Facilitator Respecting Choices Last Acts Program in the past three years.
Participants' disciplines included medicine nursing and social work, and represented hospitals, hospices, home care, long-term care and the NH Department of Corrections. Participant were recruited from organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to an implementation strategy.
The NH Healthcare Decisions Coalition is in the process of developing a NH POLST Facilitator education program that will be offered this fall. The program will be based on content available from the National POLST Paradigm with a NH focus. It will require some preparation work and a full day of on-site, interactive learning for participants.
POLST in NH has expanded statewide in the past three years and we have been invited to apply to be an 'Endorsed Program' through the National POLST Paradigm. This review process will take place over the summer.
Information about POLST in NH is available on the Foundation for Healthy Communities website.
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.
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 members and New Hampshire residents in general are very aware that there is a growing problem in our state. It is on the news, in our communities and a reality for our hospice and palliative care providers. Our patients may have a history of addiction, a family member or caregiver may have a current addiction and sometimes a healthcare organization employee is living with addiction.
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. The balance of preserving access to opioid treatment for patients when needed, as well as looking at best practice to reduce drug abuse and diversion is their goal. Phil and colleagues have submitted recommendations to the NH Medical Society and the state task group working on new rules for opioid prescribing.
Please let us know if you are interested in joining this group by contacting Janice McDermott at firstname.lastname@example.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 has been on the agenda of several recent NHHPCO meetings. The four designated distribution sites are due to open by late March 2016, and will be located in Merrimack, Dover, Plymouth and Lebanon.
To be eligible, a person must have a qualifying condition and a qualifying symptom. The Physician's role is to fill out a document stating that the patient meets the criteria to receive TC. The patient will then receive a card that will allow them to purchase TC from one of the distribution centers. Details and documents can be found at the NH DHHS website.
NHHPCO thanks Jill Hunter, APRN, FNP-BC, ACHPN, who serves on the NH Therapeutic Cannabis Advisory Council for providing this information as well as attending two of our meetings.