Message from Diane E. Meier

Dear Colleagues and Partners,

Palliative care is about rekindling the roots of the healing professions and placing the patient and the family, and what matters most to them, at the center of all that we do. In the last 15 years the field has had stunning growth, now reaching over 1700 hospitals and spreading rapidly to community settings where the seriously ill actually live and need help.

The Center to Advance Palliative Care is a national organization with a simple vision − to improve access to high quality palliative care for all seriously ill persons and their families. We carry out this vision in three ways: 1) by helping the public understand and demand palliative care when they are diagnosed with a serious illness; 2) by improving the knowledge and skills of all clinicians who serve seriously ill patients and their families; and 3) by driving health organization capacity to reliably deliver high quality palliative care to patients and families in need.

We do this not only by providing training, tools and technical assistance, but just as importantly by serving as a convening, organizing and dissemination force for the field’s leaders, innovators and partners. In this way we foster connection and cross-fertilization.

Our collective efforts are yielding change; in little more than a decade, we have seen palliative care growth in US hospitals of over 164 percent. But as many of you have told us, it is not time to declare victory. Most patients do not live in hospitals, and instead spend the great majority of their time during illness at home.

Further, even in hospitals with active palliative care teams, only a fraction of patients in need are actually reached due both to limitations on workforce capacity and to continued lack of understanding of the importance of concurrent palliative care services. These issues − lack of palliative care knowledge and skill in the greater healthcare workforce and lack of access to palliative care in communities where people live − are the challenges we must address.

Improving access to palliative care for all seriously ill people requires that every clinician have basic skills in pain and symptom management and in communication about what is most important to patients and their families. And patients must be able to find the same high quality palliative care expertise wherever they happen to be, whether at home, in their doctor’s office, in a nursing home, a cancer center or a dialysis unit. Need should determine access − whatever the setting, stage of disease or diagnosis.

In order to contribute to achieving the goal of quality palliative care everywhere that people need it, CAPC is transforming the organization to one with even greater capacity, infrastructure, staff and talent to support the growth, creativity and emerging strength of the palliative care field.

Once an organization joins, all clinical staff of that organization will have 100% access to CAPC’s new and expanded training and technical assistance content (with CEUs and CMEs at no additional charge).

All staff will also have regular contact with national and international leaders in the field through our Virtual Office Hours. And, we will continue to connect you with the best people and solutions for the seamless adoption of best practices from programs throughout the country. We can assure you that whether you’re well established or new, CAPC is dedicated to supporting you in your efforts to provide the best care possible to our patients and their families.

If you have any questions or feedback, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to continuing our work together.

Sincerely,

Diane E. Meier, MD
Director, Center to Advance Palliative Care