OHSU Wins National Award for Its Palliative and End-of-Life Efforts

07/30/09  Portland, Ore.

Oregon Health & Science University has been named a Circle of Life Award winner for its innovative program that improves the care of patients near the end of life or with life-threatening conditions.

OHSU is one of three recipients of the Circle of Life Award this year, along with two others that were awarded citations of honor. The Circle of Life Award celebrates programs across the nation that have made great strides in palliative and end-of-life care. 

OHSU was specifically honored for its Palliative Medicine and Comfort Care Team. OHSU is considered a national leader in palliative care: treating those with life-threatening illnesses through caring for the whole person, alleviating suffering and promoting the quality of life. 

OHSU was also honored for its focus on research and education which are integral to the success of the program. Team members, working with the Center for Ethics in Health Care and supported by The Kinsman Foundation, have provided more than 16,440 person-hours of continuing education in palliative care basics and program development to 2,740 health care practitioners throughout the state of Oregon

“This award honors not only the specific work of the Palliative Medicine and Comfort Care Team but it also reflects the commitment of the entire OHSU community, from top administration to bedside nurses, to provide compassionate care,” said Paul Bascom, M.D., OHSU Team Medical Director and an Associate Professor in the Division of Hematology/Medical Oncology and the Department of Internal Medicine, OHSU School of Medicine.

The awards are supported in part by the California Healthcare Foundation, based in Oakland, Calif., and Archstone Foundation.  Major sponsors include the American Hospital Association, the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, the Catholic Health Association, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the National Hospice Foundation. The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association are 2009 Circle of Life co-sponsors.

“Dealing with life-threatening illness and end-of-life decisions is difficult for all involved and today’s Circle of Life honorees understand that respect, compassion and honesty are vital aspects of palliative care,” said American Hospital Association President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. “As our nation looks to true health reform, end-of-life and palliative care will be important components and these honorees are truly inspirational and help serve as models.”

OHSU was chosen by a selection committee made up of leaders from medicine, nursing, social work, ethics, and health administration. The committee focused on innovative programs that respect patient goals and preferences, provide comprehensive care, acknowledge and address the family or caregivers’ concerns and needs and build systems and mechanisms of support to continue the program for future patients and caregivers.
This is the tenth year for the Circle of Life Award.  For more information on the Circle of Life Award, visit www.aha.org/circleoflife.
About OHSU
Oregon Health & Science University is the state's only health and research university and Oregon's only academic health center. OHSU is Portland's largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government). OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. It serves patients from every corner of the state, and is a conduit for learning for more than 3,400 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to every county in the state.

About the AHA
The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the improvement of health in their communities.  The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include almost 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks and other providers of care.  Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends.