NAHC Newsroom

Press Release | Home Health, Hospice, Patient/Family

Nurses Nationwide Are Leading by Example in a National Initiative Promoting Advance Care Planning

October 17, 2018


Media Contact: Thomas Threlkeld
Director of Communications

Nurses Nationwide Are Leading by Example in a National Initiative Promoting Advance Care Planning – #ISaidWhatIWant

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is joining nursing specialty organizations representing more than 700,000 nurses and other healthcare professionals to promote advance care planning. The initiative, led by the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA), encourages all nurses to lead by example by establishing their own advance care plan.


Advance care planning (ACP) is a process for patients and their families to discuss their wishes and goals of care for treatment and end-of-life care, clarify related values and goals, and state preferences through written documents and medical orders (Institute of Medicine). This process can start at any time and be revisited periodically but becomes more focused as health status changes. In situations where a patient’s decision-making capacity is limited, healthcare providers turn to family members to make decisions. When there have been no ACP conversations between the patient and family, family members are left to make decisions regarding life-sustaining treatment without input from the patient or with little knowledge of the patient’s wishes.


The ACP initiative, tagged “#ISaidWhatIWant,” was developed in response to the work done at the 2017 Palliative Nursing Summit hosted by HPNA. The purpose of the Summit was to bring nurses together from various nursing specialties to develop a collaborative nursing agenda regarding advance care planning, pain and symptom management, and transitions/coordination of care. Following the summit, participating organizations formed work teams to develop specific programs that will ultimately seek to influence public health by engaging nurses in targeted initiatives to enhance the care and outcomes for patients and their families.


The Summit final report states that nurses should take a lead role in providing more community education and training related to ACP. Nurses serve as resources to other healthcare providers to educate and fulfill the responsibility to advocate for providing care that is aligned with patients’ values. While all members of the interdisciplinary team provide patient care and engage in treatment discussions, due to the amount of time and ongoing conversations that nurses routinely have with patients, nurses are in a unique position to champion ACP.


#ISaidWhatIWant starts with nurses. “What better way for nurses to demonstrate the value of advance care planning than to lead by example? That is why we are encouraging all nurses to say what they want and establish their own advance care plan – and to discuss their plan with their families and loved ones,” said Sally Welsh, CEO of the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association. Nurses are uniquely positioned – and have the expertise – to facilitate meaningful conversations with patients and families about present and future healthcare, and how those interventions align with patient values, beliefs, and goals. These discussions give the patient and family an opportunity to say the things that matter to them, including expressions of hope and meaning in life.


“We want to help nurses and the public realize the true value of advance care planning and advance directives,” Welsh continued. “Having your wishes known and sharing your wishes with your family can be a great gift to family members if they ever have to make difficult healthcare decisions on your behalf.”

There are many online resources available to assist with ACP, such as The Conversation Project, an initiative of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement

For further information, see HPNA’s Position Statement on Advance Care Planning available at

Organizations Participating in the Palliative Nursing Summit

 Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN)
Academy of Neonatal Nursing (ANN)
American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN)
American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN)
American Association of Neuroscience Nurses (AANN)
American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA)
American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA)
American Nurses Association (ANA)
American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA)
American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN)
Association for Radiologic and Imaging Nursing (ARIN)
Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON)
Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN)
Emergency Nurses Association (ENA)
Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association (GAPNA)
Home Healthcare Nurses Association (HHNA) an affiliate of National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC)
Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA)
Infusion Nurses Society (INS)
International Transplant Nurses Society (ITNS)
National Black Nurses Association (NBNA)
National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS)
National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration (NADONA)
National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP)
Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs (NOVA)
Oncology Nursing Society (ONS)
Wound Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN)


About the National Association for Home Care & Hospice

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is the voice of home care and hospice.  NAHC represents the nation’s 33,000 home care and hospice providers, along with the more than two million nurses, therapists, and aides they employ.  These caregivers provide vital services to Americans who are aged, disabled, and ill.  Some 12 million patients depend on home care and hospice providers, who depend on NAHC for the best in advocacy, education, and information.  NAHC is a nonprofit organization that helps its members maintain the highest standards of care.  To learn more about NAHC, visit