Monday, January 12, 2015

Valuable Experiences of a Hospice and Palliative Medicine (HPM) Fellowship

When asked by HPM fellows what experiences one should seek to strengthen skill set, I'll recommend the following (a currently practicing HPM physician would also do well to gain these experiences):

-Actively participating in any end-of-life care coalitions in the community, and if one doesn't exist, assemble several HPM practitioners in the community to start a coalition. Coalitions working to change the model of  late-life care in the community are a common element in those regions known for their exemplar practices in late-life care.

-Engaging in initiatives aimed at reducing late-life care clinical variation within the community. These often take the form of  interdisciplinary work groups standardizing protocols or tools, either within a palliative care organization or the community at-large.

- Joining with other clinicians in institutional or community-wide intiatives to ensure safe transitions across settings and reduce hospital readmissions. There is a strong palliative care component in prevailing readmission  reduction programs, among those the commonly used Interact (Interventions to Reduce Acute CareTransfers) tool.

The skills and competencies gained from these experiences will hold an HPM physician in good stead in securing the most attractive professional opportunities emerging in the HPM sector (see this previous post  for more on the emerging role of HPM physicians).

I'm curious to hear from current and recent fellows about what experiences you've found most valuable.