Dr. Lauren Jodi Van Scoy, the director of the Project Talk Communication Lab in Pennsylvania is working to help with advance care planning in underserved communities. Van Scoy said the project looks at African American and Hispanic populations, as well as rural populations with health inequities.
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Susan Lyons, nurse practitioner and supervisor of supportive and palliative care at Meritus Medical Center, said advance directives can help make sure care wishes are heard at the end of life. Lyons urges individuals to complete advance directives when they are still healthy.
Hospice centers need more resources for bereavement care to meet the rise in demand because of the COVID-19 pandemic. "The pandemic creates a strain on the ability to meet the demand for these services, particularly for families who had a loved one die from COVID without the support of hospice," said Edo Banach, president and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
A national survey by The Conversation Project found that more than half of those surveyed would feel relieved if a loved one started a conversation about wishes for care at the end of life. "The survey shows that talking with the people we love about their wishes for end-of-life care brings relief, not anxiety," said Ellen Goodman, founder of project.
With the lack of gatherings over the last year, families may have missed critical conversations about goals of medical care in the face of serious illness. While a written advance directive is important, even more important is making your wishes known through conversation and identifying a surrogate who understands your values.
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"highly engaged teams have better retention rates, higher patient satisfaction and improved organizational performance" said Crystal Lawson, education director for American Organization for Nursing Leadership. "Organizations with a culture of engagement demonstrate that people are valued. Employees feel rewarded and recognized," Lawson said.
Yolo Hospice in Davis, Calif., created a program to increase access to care among Native Americans. "Native Americans are just not accessing this care at the same level that other populations are in our country. We want to understand why that is, and how we can help overcome barriers," Yolo Hospice CEO Craig Dresang said.
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The pandemic has worsened ethnic and racial disparities in access to end-of-life care while increasing overall negative feelings about end-of-life care, according to panelists at the Nathan Adelson Hospice Multicultural Symposium, . Underserved communities are often unable to access quality care, and "we have to be intentional about creating measurable change," said Tom Koutsoumpas, CEO of the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation.
Rabbi Jeffrey Lipschultz of Madrona Hospice & Palliative Care in Scottsdale, Ariz., writes about how vaccination and protecting the community are part of Jewish values and a "great mitzvah." "The second shot I received meant more than just hope for me to return to the normalcy of my job. It was a chance for the community to have a collective hug that we so badly need," Lipschultz writes.
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Education and certification have proven to increase nurse recruitment and retention, as well as improve job satisfaction rates. HPNA developed the Employer Partner Program to join forces with employers to support their nursing care teams. This program offers corporate discounts on 10 or more HPNA memberships or HPCC certification exams, as well as a discount on educational material (including POLARIS). Find out if your organization qualifies for volume discounts by emailing email@example.com or calling 412-282-8213. Discover more about HPNA's Employer Partner Program.