1. Dahlin, Connie President

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As the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA) has grown, so too have the opportunities. April 30, 2004, marked the official release of the National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care's Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care. Although numerous individuals were involved in the early writing stages, the final version was the work of writers Diane Meier and Judy Lund Person. The Guidelines comprise 52 pages representing more than two years of work by five organizations: the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, the Center to Advance Palliative Care, Last Acts Partnership, the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.


It is referenced with 1,200 articles to support best practices and promote evidence-based care at the end of life.


Since December 2001, four individuals representing HPNA served on the steering committee who worked diligently through 17 iterations to produce this final product. These four individuals were Betty Ferrell, Deborah Sherman, Judy Lentz, and me. Betty Ferrell was appointed early in 2003 to lead the team in the final year of development. Betty's leadership skills, specifically her expertise in group dynamics and her commitment to an important project, facilitated the group's coming to consensus.


The guidelines were posted on the National Consensus Project Web site,, and received more than 30,000 hits in the first two weeks of their release. This number has now reached close to 90,000 hits. It is obvious that the guidelines have been long overdue and clearly were greatly anticipated. The Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care provide to palliative care practitioners working in the field guidance in the development of new palliative care services and a benchmark for quality and consistency in established programs, as well as concrete guidelines for policy makers and regulators.


HPNA is proud of its participation in the process of the guideline development and the resulting guidelines. Palliative care can only improve when these guidelines are incorporated as they set standard criteria for programs and expectations of direct care. I encourage each of you to visit the HPNA Web site at and click on the banner on the home page that links to the guidelines. Feel free to download them. Then you can have easy access to them for your program or colleagues. Help us spread the word.


More information about the guidelines can be found in this issue's Panorama article, Achieving Consensus on Palliative Care.