Press Releases

NQF Releases Palliative Care Framework Document

Document based on NCP’s Guidelines

Pittsburgh, PA May 22, 2006 - The National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care (NCP) announced today that the National Quality Forum (NQF) has released A National Framework for Palliative and Hospice Care Quality Measurement and Reporting, a palliative care document based on and complementary to the NCP’s Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care.

The Framework is the culmination of the NQF’s Framework and Preferred Practices for a Palliative and Hospice Care Quality Project.

"We are excited that NQF's Board of Directors has given approval to the final draft and released this valuable document," said Betty Ferrell, PhD, Chair of the NCP Task Force. "The Guidelines and the Framework complement each other well. Together, the two will go far in ensuring that patients with life-threatening or debilitating illnesses consistently receive quality palliative care."

Janet M. Corrigan, PhD, MBA, president and CEO of the National Quality Forum remarked, "All patients facing the end of life and their families should receive the highest quality care. This NQF framework can be used by patients and clinicians to identify and evaluate the critical components of end of life care."

Commonalities and Differences

Since the new NQF document is largely based on the NCP’s Guidelines, the two documents share many commonalities:

  • Both attempt to formalize the concept of palliative care by providing extended descriptions and definitions differentiating palliative from other types of care, and by establishing standards for quality palliative care programs.
  • Each attempts to operationalize palliative care by structuring theory and practice into eight discrete "domains": (1) the structure and process of care, (2) physical aspects of care, (3) psychosocial and psychiatric aspects of care, (4) social aspects of care, (5) spiritual, religious, and existential aspects of care, (6) cultural aspects of care, (7) care of the imminently dying patient, and (8) ethical and legal aspects of care.
  • Both recommend practices on such matters as, for instance, how to assemble an interdisciplinary palliative care team and how to ensure continuity of care across diverse health care settings.

Each document has its own specific function, however. As the first step in a process intended to generate quality measures for palliative care, the NQF Framework offers a set of expectations and associated best practices designed to meet rigorous standards. In contrast, as part of the NCP's more expansive mission to raise awareness of the need for quality care, the NCP Guidelines provide historical and philosophical background on the field and suggest a range of recommended practices that should be in place in all care settings and communities.

Recommendation

"Preferably, the two documents will be used in conjunction with one another to guide the development of new palliative care programs and improve existing ones," Ferrell noted. "Health care practitioners are advised to source both documents while remaining sensitive to the distinctions between the two."

Framework excerpts can be found on the NQF's web site at http://www.qualityforum.org, along with information on how the entire document may be ordered. The NCP Guidelines can be downloaded for free at http://www.nationalconsensusproject.org.

About the NCP

The NCP is a task force of the Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition, a consortium of three national palliative care organizations: the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM), the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA), and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). This phase of the Project is funded by a grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation, a private national foundation providing support in the areas of higher education, secondary education, graduate theological education, health care, and public television. The Project also receives financial assistance from several additional supporting organizations.

Detailed information about the NCP is available at http://www.nationalconsensusproject.org. For more information about the Guidelines or the NCP, contact Ken Zuroski, NCP Project Coordinator, at 412-787-1002, email kenz@hpna.org.

About the NQF

The NQF is a broad-based non-profit "organization of organizations" tasked with the mission of developing ways to improve the quality of American health care. The NQF effects this goal through endorsement of consensus-based national standards for measurement and public reporting of health care performance data that provide meaningful information about whether care is safe, timely, beneficial, patient-centered, equitable and efficient. Established as a public-private partnership, the NQF has broad participation from all parts of the health care system, including national, state, regional, and local groups representing consumers, public and private purchasers, employers, health care professionals, provider organizations, health plans, accrediting bodies, labor unions, supporting industries, and organizations involved in health care research or quality improvement. Together, the members of the NQF work to promote a common approach to measuring health care quality and fostering system-wide capacity for quality improvement. More information can be found at http://www.qualityforum.org.

Task force members:

  • Betty Ferrell, Chair
  • Stephen Connor
  • Anne Cordes
  • Constance Dahlin
  • Perry Fine
  • Nancy Hutton
  • Mark Leenay
  • Judy Lentz
  • Diane Meier
  • Judi Lund Person

CONTACT: Lisa Morgan, LDM Strategies, 212-924-6182 or lmorgan@ldmstrategies.com.

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