I started my hospice career when pagers and a pocketful of quarters were “high-tech” communications. We knew where there were safe pay phones and a good place to get a cold bottle of Pepsi. Back in 1986, hospice had just become a permanent benefit under Medicare, and the foundation for the (then) Hospice Nurses Association (now known as the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association) had not yet been laid.
I sometimes felt I was flying by the seat of my pants, and solid, comprehensive resource manuals weren’t readily available. I often didn’t know what I didn’t know, but I had wonderful mentors and leaders to guide me as my career took root.
Fast forward 31 years, and I serve as a mentor to several professionals. One friend is ready to launch forward to that next step in leadership and is acutely aware of her knowledge gaps. Full of passion and a drive to succeed, she too is faced with sometimes not knowing what she doesn’t know.
That’s why I am glad to see that Tina Marrelli has once again updated her work in the third edition of Hospice & Palliative Care Handbook. Everyone who has been in hospice since 2013 has certainly felt the pain sometimes associated with the fast-paced regulatory changes. Perhaps it is fitting that this book was updated in 2017, which was a relatively quiet year for regulatory changes—a catch-up year for all of us!
So once again, a new generation of hospice professionals is learning the trade. New nurses are making sure they can document eligibility. New social workers or chaplains are reminded that their work (and the supporting documentation) is just as important—or sometimes more important—to the family. New hospice leaders who have worked in only one part of an organization are now ready to take the big leap to the chief executive role. All hospice professionals share the need to have an accurate understanding of hospice care at their fingertips.
To those colleagues of mine: Keep this manual handy as you create the future of hospice. It is your turn to care for us.
Thanks, Tina, for doing it again!
–Kenneth Zeri, RN, MS
President & Chief Professional Officer, Hospice Hawaii
Past President, Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA)
Board of Directors, National Hospice and Palliative Care Association (NHPCO)