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Community-based Palliative Care Programs Need a Vision

06/20/2016

There are many ways to go about developing a community-based palliative care program. Kathy Brandt of the KB Group argues, however, that what comes after launch may make just as big a difference in the success or failure of a new palliative care program. “Once it’s launched – what’s next? Beyond simply running the program, what’s the plan for evolving and growing the program?” In an extended blog post, Brandt lays out her advice as a self-described “strategic planning nerd,” guiding palliative care leaders through the process of shaping a vision and mission for new and/or growing palliative care organizations. She also notes the importance of having a clear organizational definition of palliative care and gives several examples.

Brandt briefly describes what a good vision statement looks like. Often, when people set about crafting a vision, they fail to relate their vision specifically to the kind of work that their organization will be doing. Sometimes, organizations have a vision that doesn’t depend on the specific service that they provide, or are so vague as to be essentially meaningless (e.g. “All people living in our country have access to the best possible care.”). A good vision statement has both specificity and a clear relationship to the type of services that a community-based palliative care organization can provide.

A vision statement is developed by considering answers to several questions.
• What are the overarching, fundamental, and enduring reasons why palliative care is needed in our community?
• What are we trying to achieve? Think in the biggest terms, knowing you may never achieve or complete the goal.
• How will our palliative care program impact the community?

A mission statement, says Brandt, should fit within the vision statement, but is a more concrete description of the means by which the vision is made a reality. If the vision statement is a “why,” then the mission statement is a “how.” You can build your mission statement by asking and answering some questions.
• What services will we provide?
• How will we provide them?
• What people will we serve?
• In what care setting(s) will our services be offered?
• What value are we bringing to patients, partners, and the community?

When creating a vision and mission statement, says Brandt, “Your goal isn’t to design your palliative care program; rather it is to think about the overarching goal of the program in relation to the change you are trying to bring about (vision). And then to begin thinking about the strategies you’ll employ to achieve the goals.” When properly considered and crafted, vision and mission statements can help new and existing community-based palliative care programs to thrive. Brandt’s online article also offers additional resources to help in developing and maintaining such programs.

Source: (The KB Group, 6/1, www.the-kb-group.com/#!Your-Communitybased-Palliative-Care-Program-Vision-and-Mission/o1vab/574f4e250cf255d230f2aa62)