A Crucial Conversation: Upholding Our Commitment to Ethics and Integrity

In 1963, Dame Cicely Saunders introduced the idea of specialized care for the dying to the United States, leading to the 1982 Congressional provision to create a Medicare hospice benefit. At the center of hospice and palliative care is the belief that everyone has the right to die pain-free and with dignity, and that our families will receive the necessary support to allow us to do so.

Under this benefit and following in the footsteps of hospice and palliative care pioneers, conference attendees, interdisciplinary hospice and palliative care teams, and volunteers across the country are working to deliver person-centered, interdisciplinary care for individuals living with serious illness and facing the end of life.

Recent articles have raised important issues about misuse of the hospice benefit and practices inconsistent with the values and commitments that we all strive to uphold. This has sparked a national conversation that challenges us to take a close look at what needs to change, as well as what we need to safeguard as committed providers of quality hospice and palliative care. NHPCO and other leading organizations are working to provide resources and advance policy. We stand ready to ensure the integrity of this important end-of-life program and reaffirm our values and commitment to the patients and families we served.

During this session, experts will confront issues that affect all who are entrusted with caring for individuals facing the end of life. Panelists will discuss the impact of and explore the conditions that give rise to these problems as well as identify actions to uphold our values and assure the integrity of the field.