Hospice and Palliative Care – What Resources Are Available?

By Joe Rotella

The mission of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) is to improve the care of patients with serious or life-threatening conditions through the advancement of hospice and palliative medicine. AAHPM offers an array of resources to help patients and practitioners get the most from this special approach to care. A couple of definitions may help here. Palliative care is for people of any age and at any stage of serious illness, whether that illness is curable, chronic, or life threatening. It focuses on improving quality of life by managing pain and other distressing symptoms and can be provided along with other medical treatments, including those designed to cure or to prolong life. Hospice is palliative care for patients who are near the end of life. Hospice care can be provided in the home, hospice center, hospital, nursing home, or wherever the patient lives.  Physicians who specialize in hospice and palliative medicine listen to patients and their families and help them establish what matters most to them as they live with serious illness. Experts in pain and symptom control, they work with other doctors and healthcare professionals, align treatments with the patient’s goals of care, and support patients and families as they navigate the complex healthcare system and strive for the best quality of life possible.
Let’s highlight a few of the more popular AAHPM resources:

  1. PalliativeDoctors.org is a site AAHPM created especially for patients.  It includes information about hospice and palliative care, advice on how to get started, stories from patients, FAQs and more.
  2. Hospice and Palliative Medicine SmartBriefs provide a snapshot of what’s new in the field, including stories pulled from Reuters, HealthDay News and other leading sources. This bi-weekly electronic publication is free; just sign up.
  3. AAHPM.org is the official website of AAHPM. Here you’ll find the latest educational offerings, updates on advocacy initiatives and new job opportunities.
  4. AAHPM is active on social media. Stay connected and follow posts on its Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages.  
  5. AAHPM blog features posts from Academy members and guests with interesting stories to share.
  6. If you want to learn more about the field, you should explore the AAHPM bookstore. Check out the UNIPACs and Primer of Palliative Care. My personal favorite is HPM PASS, an online practice exam (approved for CME credit) that tests and expands your knowledge of hospice and palliative medicine.
  7. For learning and networking, nothing beats attending an in-person meeting. Mark your calendar for March 10-13, 2016 in Chicago where 3,000 hospice and palliative care providers will gather and learn about the latest developments in the field of hospice and palliative care. Learn more at AnnualAssembly.org.

Joe Rotella, MD MBA HMDC FAAHPM, Chief Medical Officer, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. You can reach him at jrotella@aahpm.org.

This article was brought to you by ASA's Healthcare and Aging Network.