Tuesday, November 18, 2014

CAPC Seminar 2014 Review: Quality, Metrics and Palliative Care! Oh My!

Energy and enthusiasm permeated all aspects of the 2014 CAPC National Seminar. There was a noticeable sense of pride in the advances of palliative care over the past year accompanied with an excitement for new opportunities to expand the field. Because of both the breadth and depth of the seminar curriculum I will only provide comments about the plenary sessions and conclude with a few thoughts on the conference as a whole.

Plenary Sessions

Diane Meier opened the seminar by expressing gratitude for the work of palliative care professionals across the country. Using the Diffusion of Innovation Theory, Dr. Meier proceeded to make a cogent case that palliative care is past the tipping point and sits on the precipice of being institutionalized such that palliative care will be seen as an indispensable and expected component of health care delivery in all settings moving forward. She supported her case by referencing a variety of accomplishments including but not limited to:
  1. palliative care as an established field with a high prevalence of palliative care teams in hospitals
  2. the increasing number of formal certification and accreditation processes in palliative care; 
  3. the growing public and professional awareness about palliative care. See Being Mortal as one example; 
  4. the increased number of palliative care training options through entities like ELNEC, Vital Talk, and CAPC
  5. additional evidence on the benefit of palliative care for patients and families; 
  6. supportive policy and enhanced advocacy. 
Specifically, through the ACA incentives for quality and high value care have never been more important and because palliative care has been shown repeatedly to be both high value care and quality care, payers are noticing. See Improving the Care of Serious Illness Through Innovative Payer-Provider Partnerships.

David Weissman used his plenary to encourage palliative care professionals to be educators. While many palliative care teams may balk at opportunities to educate due to a lack of time, Dr. Weissman encouraged teams to find creative and meaningful ways to educate. He provided examples on ways to integrate education informally into clinical practice. Moreover, Dr. Weissman spoke to maximizing the learning experience through thoughtful and intentional approaches to defining the title of your presentation, writing objectives and selecting your educational format. Additionally, Dr. Weissman referenced tools to aid you as an educator such as the End of Life/Palliative Education Resource Center and Fast Facts. Later in the seminar, CAPC recognized Dr. Weissman with the CAPC 2014 Innovation Award for his substantial and meaningful contributions to the field of palliative care.

Sister Carol Keehan, President and CEO of the Catholic Health Association of the United States offered effusive praise for the work of palliative care professionals during her session. She described the integration of palliative care services in CHA member health systems while repeatedly noting the importance of high quality care for the seriously ill.

Graeme Rocker from Dalhousie University discussed the program INSPIRED Approaches to COPD: Improving Care and Creating Value. Dr. Rocker described this outreach program for patients and families living with advanced COPD and demonstrated how the program resulted in improved clinical outcomes for patients as well as a reduction in ED visits, hospitalizations and hospital days. During his presentation a family member who benefit from the program described her experience and the importance of palliative care professionals.

Former Senator Bill Frist offered the final plenary session. Dr. Frist described the role of the private sector in scaling palliative care. Dr. Frist highlighted the private sector’s ability to move quickly, provide capital to programs and experiment with new models of care delivery. Furthermore, he articulated the value palliative care brings to the private sector as incentives for quality increase. He concluded his presentation by demonstrating how Aspire Health is working with the private sector to respond to the needs of the seriously ill.

Conclusion

On the whole, the 2014 CAPC Seminar offered the over 900 attendees the tools to address issues that are integral to the development and sustainability of high quality palliative care programs. Intensive and concurrent sessions offered a wide range of expertise including but not limited to program development, clinical models, quality metrics, leadership, developing business plans, palliative care across systems, inpatient, outpatient, clinic based and home palliative care, palliative care in the ICU, emergency department and long-term care facilities, reaching out to payers, and specific populations.

CAPC will be a membership organization beginning in 2015 and attendees got the first look at some of the benefits of membership which includes online curriculum, virtual office hours, and web conferences.

The conference offered adequate time and setting for networking opportunities and included “office hours” so attendees could work directly with faculty experts. The #CAPCSeminar14 received much attention from a thoughtful and active community on Twitter. It’s well worth searching the hashtag to see quotes, photos, articles, and references.

Undoubtedly, participants will use the content from the conference to launch new or enhance existing palliative care programs across the country.

Turner West, MPH, MTS is an educator and administrator at Hospice of the Bluegrass in Lexington, KY. He is married has a 16 month old with a “ask me about palliative care” bib and an 8 year-old St. Bernard.

Image Credit: Palm Trees Gerald Harriman (@hpmsudo) via Twitter
Image Credit: Conference Hall Ian Kwok (@kwokytalky) via Twitter

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