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Regence Foundation Launches Palliative Care Grantmaking Program in Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington
Date:10/13/2009

PORTLAND, Ore., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The Regence Foundation unveiled its signature philanthropic program today, Sojourns, to foster best practices, leadership and collaboration that help people with life-threatening and incurable illness to access quality palliative care in their own community. The Foundation also announced its first Sojourns grant to OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital for its Bridges pediatric palliative care program.

Palliative care is a holistic approach that treats the whole person, including management of pain and other discomfort at any stage of disease, while supporting caregivers and families. Depending on a patient's needs and goals for care, palliative care may be combined with or supplant curative therapies.

"Increasingly, research shows that patients' treatment desires and comfort are overlooked," said Michael Alexander, Regence Foundation board chair. "The Regence Foundation seeks to identify best practices in which treatment and care meet with patient and family desires, and to extend those practices to the community, whether they are suffering years with a life-threatening illness or facing a limited prognosis."

First grant for pediatric palliative care

The Regence Foundation awarded its first Sojourns Pathway grant to OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital Foundation in Portland in support of the hospital's Bridges pediatric palliative care program. The $52,000 grant will be used to survey pediatric palliative care training needs among community hospice nurses throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington and develop a pediatric hospice training curriculum and DVD.

"A very real challenge faced by hospice and palliative medicine professionals is that we feel ill-equipped to manage pediatric patients," said Deborah Jaques, Executive Director of the Oregon Hospice Association. "A primary reason is that we have fewer opportunities to gain skills, experience and information about this important patient group."

"With only two dedicated pediatric hospice programs in Oregon, the need for pediatric palliative care education in hospice settings is compelling," said Bridges Program Director, Kathy Perko, P.N.P. "This grant from The Regence Foundation will mean that hospices throughout Oregon and SW Washington will have more tools to better care for and support dying children and their families."

OHSU Doernbecher, a part of Oregon Health & Science University and a regional leader in pediatric care, created Bridges in 2005 as a pediatric palliative care consult service for providers in Oregon and Southwest Washington who are caring for a child with a life-limiting illness. Bridges also partners with St. Luke's Health System in Boise, Idaho.

Grant money available

Grants are available for nonprofit and public hospitals that are interested in establishing a palliative care program, seeking to implement a plan for a program, and those with a program that seek to expand it through partnerships with other community organizations.

To learn more about Sojourns and to download the Request for Proposals (RFPs), visit www.RegenceFoundation.org.

About The Regence Foundation

The Regence Foundation is the corporate foundation of Regence, the largest health insurer in the Northwest/Intermountain region and a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. A 501(c)3 grantmaking organization, the Foundation partners with organizations driving significant change in health care delivery and accessibility in Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Through its Sojourns program, the Foundation also supports organizations advancing quality palliative and end-of-life care. For more information visit www.RegenceFoundation.org or soon at www.twitter.com/RegenceGives.

SOURCE The Regence Foundation


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SOURCE The Regence Foundation
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