Mission Alignment & Assessing Hospital Priorities
“Mission alignment” is key to securing support for the palliative care program. The common denominator of all successful programs is their ability to connect palliative care to achieving hospital goals.
Effective palliative care proponents understand what hospital leaders care about. They ensure that everything proposed, designed, budgeted, and implemented reflects and responds to those priorities.
At each stage, proponents think and work from the perspective of hospital leaders. To achieve this perspective, they identify the benefits of palliative care that will resonate with the leaders’ agendas and achieve the leaders′ goals.
These benefits are often different in emphasis from those of a proponent. The proponent′s reasons for wanting to start a palliative care program are focused on quality of care. Leaders also must assure the fiscal health of the institution.
As a result, proponents may need to focus on the fiscal impact of palliative care, as well as the clinical results. This process is sometimes called “mission alignment,” because the proponent is aligning the mission of the palliative care program to the mission of hospital leadership.
Mission alignment is a long-term process, not a one-time effort. Leaders of successful palliative care programs recognize that they must be responsive to the perspective of hospital leaders not only at the outset, but over the lifetime of their programs.
To secure support for palliative care programs, proponents:
- Solicit colleagues opinions and support for the program;
- Assess hospital priorities to ensure that the program meets those priorities; and
- Gather evidence to develop the case for palliative care at their hospital.
Assessing Hospital Priorities
It is critical to forge a connection between the palliative care cause and the hospital leadership mission. The planning team must perform a quick reconnaissance to identify current organizational priorities and assess potential concordance with palliative care benefits.
The assessment could include the following steps:
- Identify institutional priorities.
- Determine how management and administrative decision-making work in the institution.
- Determine ongoing initiatives related to palliative care and identify those in charge or their advocates.
- Identify an administrative/financial champion to help the program thrive as part of the larger organization.
- Identify potential allies and possible sources of resistance.
- Identify and gain an understanding of opinion leaders and stakeholders. Stakeholders could include: Senior Administrator, Pain Management Specialist, VP Nursing or Nurse Manager, Ethics Committee and Consultation Service, Social Workers, Chaplain, Hospice Leadership, Clinical Pharmacist, Nutritionist, Patients, and Families.