Advocacy, Peru, and One Final Farewell

How great a time it is to be working to support such wonderful hospice and palliative care advocates like you. Over the past two months I have learned so much about the importance of advocacy and constituent relationships with offices of Members of Congress. These tools and skills I have developed I hope to carry with me in my career as a nurse practitioner working in direct patient care. Through your dedication to advocacy and the assistance of phenomenal staff (such as Karen Davis, Lauren Drew and Sharon Pearce), I have a broader understanding of how policy influences the type of care our patients receive as they face life-limiting and chronic ailments.

Before I leave, I wanted to thank you for this internship opportunity and for the support you have shown me, the NHPCO and your patients through the phenomenal work you do every day in the front lines of hospice and palliative care. The highlight of my summer has been getting to know front-line hospice workers attending the Advocacy Intensive on a personal level. Together, we laughed, learned, and worried over our meetings with Congressional Offices. In unison, we succeeded as one voice to cut through the noise of Capitol Hill in order to ensure that our patients’ needs were being addressed on a legislative level.

                I was moved the day I got to walk alongside those who risked everything for the sake of American citizens and democracy. Sitting next to these gentlemen, providing tissues and giving hugs was just a small token of my gratitude towards them and the trials they have faced in their lives.

Finally, I would never have succeeded at being able to support and assist the needs of the NHPCO’s HAN advocates without the careful guidance and mentorship of my supervisors- Karen Davis, Lauren Drew and Sharon Pearce. Though I will not be working directly in policy in the near future, the lessons I have learned through their leadership will definitely aid in my future career as a hospice and palliative care nurse practitioner. Before tackling that goal, I am off to Peru to work as a nursing assistant in a hospice house for 9 months. In Peru, I will be training other nursing aides who live in the community how to properly care for actively dying residents. It is my hope to help sustain a program that serves the poorest, neediest dying individuals in a differing country.

I will be in touch in the near future about my travels and work in hospice in Peru. Until then- Farewell. I will always remember the lessons learned while helping to serve such a wonderful movement and organization.

Access to Opportunity

Hello all,

Clearly it has been a very busy summer for all of us. The three interns working at the NHPCO were not exempt from this business. Unfortunately, our time is running out as we all prepare to leave to continue pursuing our hopes and passions. Last week, you were able to hear from our Communications Intern, Hannah Winters. Today, our other intern, Kevin Curwick, shares his experiences as an intern with us all as well as giving us insight into his hopes and dreams for his future career. With that, I will let Kevin take it away-


Kevin and I in a Senate Congressional Office Building preparing for a meeting

                “This summer has provided a drastic change from my previous experiences in the world of healthcare. Having previously worked in medical research, I sought an opportunity which took me out of the clinic and into the background of health care. With plans to pursue a profession as a physician working in end-of-life care, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) was a natural fit for me.

Throughout the summer with NHPCO I have worked with the Access team. I specifically focused on the We Honor Veterans program. Understanding more about the additional challenges Veterans face at the end of life as well as the difficulties they face in receiving proper end-of-life care has transformed my outlook in medicine. Working with Veterans’ health provided an entirely new perspective for me. With VA facilities being spaced farther out, it became evident that access to VA care was difficult for Veterans and options for end-of-life care were limited.

Prior to working at the NHPCO, most of the work I have done in other realms of the health care field was disconnected from the actual care of Veterans. It wasn’t until I had the privilege of welcoming Veterans on an Honor Flight that the importance of the work the Access team is doing really hit home. As over a hundred Veterans came off the flight with tears in their eyes, honoring and respecting Veterans for their service became much more real to me. They were not numbers or percentages, but people deserving of the highest praise for their willingness to do what so many of us wish not to do. Thanks to my time with the Access team at NHPCO, I will never allow myself to walk by a Veteran without stopping to express my appreciation. My experiences this summer have encouraged me to consider working in a VA facility in my future career as a physician – an idea that once seemed daunting.

Finally, the opportunity to advocate for legislation that supported proper hospice care was one of the greatest parts of working at NHPCO this summer. Being on Capitol Hill for the Advocacy Intensive rather than as a tourist developed a greater sense of civic responsibility. This responsibility is one will carry with me no matter where I am. Working with the Access team and NHPCO gave me the tools and vision to confront big problems with real and practical solutions. I am incredibly appreciative of Katherine Kemp and her encouragement of my personal, professional, and academic growth through many different experiential mediums.

Thank you to all the staff at NHPCO for their patience, kindness, and support this summer!”

-Kevin Curwick

Advocacy Round-Up!

Wow! Things have been busy in the realm of hospice and palliative care advocacy this past week. From having over 350 constituent meetings held in Congressional offices to many calls made by those participating in Virtual Hill Week, hospice and palliative care advocates are being heard all over Congress. And their hard work is paying off!

Here are some pictures of our front-line advocates attending Congressional meetings during their brief visit to Washington D.C.

 

Since July 17th, the following Members of Congress co-sponsored HAN-supported legislation:

The Patient Choice and Quality Care Act:

  • Rep. André Carson [D-IN7]
  • Rep. Jimmy Duncan [R-TN2]
  • Rep. Jamie Raskin [D-MD8]
  • Rep. David Young [R-IA3]
  • Rep. Carol Shea-Porter [D-1]

The Rural Access to Hospice Act:
House

  • Rep. Jimmy Duncan [R-TN2]
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz [R-FL1]
  • Rep. Patrick Meehan [R-PA7]
  • Rep. Kristi Noem [R-SD0]
  • Rep. Jamie Raskin [D-MD8]
  • Rep. David Young [R-IA3]
  • Rep. Carol Shea-Porter [D-1]

Senate

  • Sen. Patrick Leahy [D-VT]
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders [I-VT]

The Palliative Care and Hospice Education Training Act (PCHETA):

  • Sen. John Boozman [R-AR]
  • Sen. Kirsten Gilibrand [D-NY]
  • Rep. Judy Chu [D-CA27]
  • Rep. Lacy Clay [D-MO1]
  • Rep. John Conyers [D-MI13]
  • Rep. Carlos Curbelo [R-FL26]
  • Rep. Ann Kuster [D-NH2]
  • Rep. Dan Newhouse [R-WA4]
  • Rep. Richard Nolan [D-MN8]
  • Rep. Bill Pascrell [D-NJ9]
  • Rep. Ed Perlmutter [D-CO7]
  • Rep. Mike Quigley [D-IL5]
  • Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard [D-CA40]
  • Rep. Thomas Suozzi [D-NY3]
  • Rep. Niki Tsongas [D-MA3]
  • Rep. Peter Visclosky [D-IN1]

 

To keep up this wonderful uptick in advocacy, please take a moment to e-mail your Members of Congress NOW by clicking on one of the following action alerts below:

Patient Choice and Quality Care Act Action Alert
Rural Access to Hospice Act Action Alert

Otherwise, you can call Congress too through our Virtual Hill Week module! Please keep up the good work!

Have Their Back

With the Advocacy Intensive ending two days ago, it may seem like the perfect time for those of us who did not attend to sit back and relax. Unfortunately, this cannot be the case. While attendees of the Advocacy Intensive were working really hard during their Congressional visits, we need you at home to call your Members of Congress to keep encouraging Congress to support vital hospice and palliative care legislation. By doing this, you are helping to show your Members of Congress that it isn’t just the people who traveled to D.C. who care about hospice and palliative care legislation, constituents at home care too.

So have your fellow advocate’s back and call Congress. Do it now before Virtual Hill Week ends in just 2 DAYS. All you need is five minutes and a telephone to be an effective hospice and palliative care advocate. Grab a few friends; find a phone and call now to encourage your Members of Congress to support vital hospice and palliative care legislation.

Click here to access the call module and connect with your Members of Congress now!


Be like Ryan Klaustermeier ! Have your colleague’s back and call Congress today!
Advocate for Hospice and Palliative Care Legislation.

Not sure how to proceed? No problem, HAN is here to help. Click the following links to access a script you can use while calling or learn some basic tips and tricks about calling Congress!

Do you have more than five minutes to spare? Take some additional time to learn how to be an effective advocate from home by watching HAN’s Social Media Session Facebook Live Event.

If you run into a roadblock or need further support, don’t be afraid to shoot us an e-mail or give us a call at info@nhpcohan.org or (703) 837-3142.

Can’t Make it to the Advocacy Intensive?

Believe it or not, the Advocacy Intensive starts today! If you couldn’t make it to the Intensive this year but are still hoping to advocate, do I have a solution for you. From the comfort of your very own home or office, even YOU can be an effective hospice and palliative care advocate. How? With the power of your words and a telephone.

So, fire up those telephones, folks, it’s time to give Congress a call to tell them about the importance of hospice and palliative care! First, review our suggested script, and then log into our Call Module to make your calls to Congress! Then, please share these resources with your friends to help make Virtual Hill Week 2017 a grand success!

Additionally, we are going to stream parts of the 2017 Advocacy Intensive on Facebook Live today! Have you met NHPCO’s new CEO, Edo Banach? Hear his opening remarks at 9:45 am EDT on HAN’s Facebook Page. Then, tune in again at 3:00 pm EDT to learn about how you can use social media to contact your Members of Congress.

Finally, we have several resources to help you continue to advocate at home! Check out our video collection to learn how to be an effective advocate without ever having to leave your state!

If you run into a roadblock or need further support, don’t be afraid to shoot us an e-mail or give us a call at info@nhpcohan.org or (703) 837-3142.

Thank you for your support!