Circles of Influence 2010

Highlights of the Continuing Journey of Past Circle of Life Winners

Organization:  The Department of Veterans Affairs VA New York/New Jersey Healthcare Network, Brooklyn, NY.

Innovation highlights were a strong staff education and training program, expansion of palliative care services in intensive care units, community outreach, and data collection to drive quality improvement.

Recent Achievements:  VA New York/New Jersey Healthcare Network continues to promote clinical capacity and competency in hospice and palliative care staff, ensure quality, promote reliable access to care, and enhance partnership with the community.  Staff education for VA hospitals, VA Community Living Centers (Nursing Homes), State Veterans Homes, and hospice agencies in the community continues to promote clinical competency and capacity through the dissemination of EPEC (Education in Palliative and End of Life Care) and ELNEC (End of Life Nursing Education Consortium) for Veterans.  Additional educational efforts include the enhancement of resiliency and team building for the Palliative Care teams and Hospice and Palliative Care Unit staff through collaboration with VHA National Center for Organization Development (NCOD). Network-wide efforts for "Let's Get Certified" in Hospice and Palliative Care continue, resulted in a total of 69 staff representing all levels of nursing, physicians, social workers and chaplains attaining hospice and palliative care credentials.

Recently, VA New York/New Jersey received funding to enhance family satisfaction in end-of-life care through network-wide implementation of LEAN/Six Sigma methodology to improve results on the National VA Bereaved Family Survey.  Continued participation in the We Honor Veterans Program, a joint collaboration with VA and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, has enhanced enduring partnership, education and training, and outreach in the community at the regional and state level.

Award Impact: The Circle of Life Award recognition for the New York/New Jersey Healthcare System Network 3 continues to receive widespread attention due to the recent rapid growth of VA hospice and palliative care programs across the nation.  This has promoted visibility of palliative care and its importance in caring for all Veterans with serious, life-limiting illness and honoring their preferences for care at the end of life.

Organization:  Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care, Kansas City, MO. 

Innovations cited were outpatient services in community oncology clinic, mental health program, and strong palliative care physician leadership.

Recent Achievements:  

1) In July 2015 NorthCare Hospice & Palliative Care became a subsidiary of Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care (KCH&PC). With this change we are we now able to provide care to approximately 4,000 people in our community annually through our programs. These programs include Home Hospice Care, Kansas City Hospice House, Solace House, and NorthCare Hospice and NorthCare Hospice House.

2) KCH&PC and NorthCare Hospice have implemented an "Advance Illness Support" program of Nurse Practitioner home visits to individuals with a diagnoses of a serious illness, regardless of prognosis.

3) In 2015, our organization provided physicians and nurse educators to the Missouri Department of Corrections in a collaborative effort with hospices to train incarcerated individuals to provide care and support to dying inmates. Missouri is the only state in the country with support from its entire Department of Corrections committed to this type of personal and compassionate care for all of its state's prisoners.

4) Since 2005 Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care has partnered with the University of Kansas Medical Center to provide a one-year Fellowship Program in Hospice and Palliative Medicine, training to two Fellows a year for the past nine years. In 2014 the program was joined by North Kansas City Hospital and has continued to expand with a total of three Fellows annually.

5) KCH&PC has continued to add enhancements of special services to families including intensification of services to veterans, grief support through the free standing Solace House, and community bereavement support services.

6) KCH&PC was named a 2015 Hospice Honors Home Health Recipient and NorthCare Hospice a Hospice Honors Recipient, by DEYTA Satisfaction Specialists. DEYTA measures an individual hospice's performance and compares it to approximately 1,700 hospices across the country. This award recognizes hospices that provide the most highly rated patient care as rated by the patient's caregiver.

Award Process: The award process was strenuous, but resulted in a rewarding site visit and outcome. Being a Circle of Life Award Recipient has caused an increase in morale for staff and volunteers.

Award Impact: The full impact of the award is impossible to measure, but we are very proud to indicate to hospitals, health organizations, and community members this special recognition as a signal to partners of the strength of the agency.

Organization: Snohomish Palliative Partnership, Everett, WA.

Innovation highlights were collaboration and shared vision among different organizations, palliative advanced practice nurse on hospitalist team, and community focus on providing palliative care across the continuum.

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