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June 26, 2014
Contact: Ashley Durkin
[email protected]
(571) 527-1528

VNAA Releases Blueprint for Excellence: Hospice and Palliative Care


Leading Subject Matter Experts and Clinicians Develop Best Practices for End of Life Care

WASHINGTON, DC-June 26, 2014- Today, the Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA) released the latest in its pathway to best practices, the Blueprint for Excellence, focused on hospice and palliative care. Noting the rise in hospice use and spending for Medicare beneficiaries, VNAA convened leading subject matter experts and clinicians from its membership, academia and accrediting bodies to design best practices for end of life care. The Blueprint for Excellence is a free resource for workforce training and development that promotes quality improvement in home health and transitions of care.

In 2012, the Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA) recognized a need. Healthcare was changing due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and other initiatives from providers, payers and policymakers alike, focused on providing patients with cost effective, high quality care. VNAA members have successfully worked to close gaps and improve the safety and efficiency of care transitions, especially transition into the home. VNAA convened a group of clinical leaders from membership, academics and others to develop the Home Health Care Transitions of Care best practices. This served as a model for other providers and educated other stakeholders on the value of home health. In time, these best practices became the Blueprint for Excellence for home health agencies.

As part of the Affordable Care Act, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) must collect quality data for all individuals over 18 years of age in hospice care under the Hospice Quality Reporting Program (HQRP) through the Hospice Item Set (HIS). VNAA's hospice and palliative care best practices work group focused their development of the Blueprint for Excellence on the measures included in the HIS such as pain, dyspnea and treatment preferences.

"With the release of the hospice Blueprint for Excellence, VNAA is leading the way in establishing industry wide practices for quality outcomes, based on extensive research and a patient centered approach to care," said Tracey Moorhead, president and CEO of the Visiting Nurse Associations of America. "We look forward to sharing these modules with other hospice and palliative care providers, policymakers and payers to demonstrate the value of quality, cost effective hospice services."

VNAA's Vice President of Quality and Innovation Margaret "Peg" Terry, PhD, RN led the hospice best practices working group in development of the VNAA Blueprint. "It was imperative that these best practices assist in the ongoing education and training of those experienced in hospice care and those new to the field. The skill of clinicians in this field is critical to successful practice and assuring patients receive care and achieve the goal of a comfortable and pain free death."

The VNAA Blueprint focuses beyond the HIS on important issues in hospice and palliative care such as crisis management, since data shows 25 percent of patients in hospice care have lengths of stay of seven day or less, with an additional 10 percent at three days or less. Other modules include critical interventions, medication reconciliation and management and patient and caregiver engagement.

VNAA wishes to thank its Blueprint for Excellence contributors. They are:

· Andréa Huertas, RN, BSN, MBA, CHPN, Christiana Care VNA

· Barbara LeFrance, MS, RN, Home Health and Hospice Care

· Barbara Muntz, RN, BSN, MTS Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP)

· Barbara Sylvester, RN, BBA, MSOLQ, Accreditation Commission for Health Care

· Bonnie Morgan, M.Ed., RN, CHPN, FPCN, Four Winds Hematology and Oncology

· Carol Long, PhD, RN, FPCN, Capstone Healthcare

· Cindi Pursley, RN, CHPN, VNA Palliative Care and Hospice-At-Home

· Danielle Pierotti, RN, MSN, AOCN, PhD (c ), HCI Care Services

· Debra Wiegand PhD, RN, FAAN, University of Maryland School of Nursing

· June Gallup, RN,MS,HCS-D,COS-C, BCHH-C, Cornerstone VNA

· Keela Herr, PhD, RN, FAAN, AGSF, College of Nursing at University of Iowa

· Mag Van Oosten, RN Sutter Care at Home

· Margaret Campbell, PhD, RN, FPCN, College of Nursing, Wayne State University

· Margaret Hadley, RN,MS, Home Health and Hospice Consultant

· Margherita Labson, RN, MSHSA, CPHQ, The Joint Commission

· Mary Narayan, MSN, RN, HHCNS-BC, CTN, Home Health and Clinical Education Specialist

· Mary Lou Proch, EdD, MSN, BSN, Chapters Health System


VNAA is a national association that supports, promotes and advances mission driven, nonprofit providers of home and community-based healthcare, hospice and health promotion services to ensure quality care for their communities. VNAA members share a mission to provide cost-effective and compassionate care to some of the nation's most vulnerable individuals, particularly the elderly and individuals with disabilities. Learn more at


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