Friday, January 21, 2011

Peace Accord Reached Between Geriatrics and Palliative Care Professional Societies | GeriPal - Geriatrics and Palliative Care Blog

by: Wikileaks

Boards for the major professional societies for geriatrics (AGS) and hospice and palliative medicine (AAHPM) have reached an agreement on collaborative efforts. The agreement was drafted following a conference in New York.

Here is the joint statement:


The Geri-Pal Workgroup has focused its collaborative efforts between the disciplines of geriatrics and palliative medicine in the following five areas: Workforce, Research, Education, Policy and Membership Communication. The following summaries provide specific recommendations in each area for the AAHPM Board to consider.

Due to the continued growth of advanced and serious illness among older adults, it is imperative that aggressive steps be taken to increase the workforce with training in advanced and complex illness care. It is likely that both for the field of geriatrics and palliative medicine that workforce will be inadequate to address population needs. The Geri-Pal workgroup recommends

1) ongoing dialogue between both specialties on ways to train mid-career physicians (since fellowship training won’t meet workforce need);

2) better understanding of current workforce issues in palliative medicine and geriatrics through incorporation of questions into the AGS annual workforce study (See appendix) and the proposed academic palliative medicine survey and communication of these findings to both organizations;

3) identification of areas of resistance to collaboration between both specialties;

4) delineation of unique and overlapping competencies for both specialties; and

5) support by both organizations/disciplines for Geriatric Academic Career Awards and Palliative Academic Career Awards.

Very little research addresses advanced illness/multimorbidity/symptom management in older adults. Despite the large number of people affected, funding for these areas are also thin. The Geri-Pal workgroup recommends

1) joint advocacy for research in these areas;

2) increased communication to relevant stakeholders regarding the research vacuum in geri-pal research;

3) initiation of a joint strategic initiative to increase funding in these areas through State of the Art conferences, an Institute of Medicine conference for targeted topics, and interaction by the Geri-Pal workgroup and other AGS/AAHPM leaders with key research and policy stakeholders.

Based on the identified overlap of shared goals in the care for older adults with advanced illness and a cross-over of more than 300 members, a pilot exercise to educate each organization’s membership during their Annual Meetings was viewed as successful. Both organizations completed the following activities in 2009/2010:

• an exhibit booth exchange allowing each organization to have a presence at the other’s annual conference;

• development of a pre-conference session offered at both the 2010 AGS conference and the 2011 AAHPM conference.

Based on high evaluation scores and good attendance for the pre-conferences and notable interest at the exhibit booths, continued inclusion of exhibit booths and sessions is being sought for the 2011 and 2012 annual meetings of AGS and AAHPM respectively. The AGS Annual Meeting Program Committee has considered this request and approved moving forward with a pre-conference at the AGS 2011 Annual Meeting. AAHPM will consider this for its 2012 planning committee meeting.

In addition, AGS and AAHPM have continued the exchange of products. AGS is providing Geriatrics at Your Fingertips to AAHPM at its member price and AAHPM is providing the Primer at the AAHPM member price during certain time periods throughout the year.

Given the important issues confronting providers working in geriatrics and palliative medicine, especially in the coming decade as health reform is implemented, it will be crucial to speak with one voice, synergistically, on matters relevant to medical care of persons of advance age, and those nearing the end of life. To that end, the Geri-Pal workgroup recommends to the leadership and membership of the AAHPM and AGS to:

1) Concur on matters of mutual clinical and policy import;

2) Share policy and advocacy initiatives regularly to highlight areas of mutual interest and emphasis;

3) Share “talking points” related to (2);

4) Prepare statements and political approaches to “hot button” issues, including but not limited to - rationing, health care reform, end of life care, Medicare cost-cutting initiatives, and

5) Share mechanisms of mobilizing membership to accomplish shared goals of the AAHPM and AGS.

Communication to memberships
To demonstrate the growing collaboration between the two fields of geriatrics and palliative medicine, the Geri-Pal workgroup recommends ongoing communicating to both organizations’ memberships regarding activities of the workgroup and two organizations that highlight this collaboration. The Geri-Pal workgroup recommends:

1) Regular updates in the AGS newsletter (sent quarterly), the AGS Week in Review (weekly), and the AAHPM newsletter (sent quarterly) and 

2) Development of a joint position statement and issue brief addressing the need for integration of geriatric and palliative medicine, the importance of funding the care provided, and the need for training programs that facilitate training at the intersection of the fields and are not barriers to training in both areas.

Workgroup members:
Chair, Christine Ritchie, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Bob Arnold, University of Pittsburgh
Jean Kutner, University of Colorado Denver HSC
Seth Landefeld, University of California at San Francisco
Bruce Leff, John Hopkins University
Wayne McCormick, University of Washington
Greg Sachs, Indiana University

The Membership and Communities SCC has reviewed the proposal as submitted by the Geri-Pal Workgroup and recommends ongoing collaboration between the disciplines of geriatrics and palliative medicine to focus on the areas/issues noted above.
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