NHPCO Position Statement on Ethical Marketing Practices

A position statement and commentary, Hospice and Palliative Care: Ethical Marketing Practices, was recently released by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). Approved by the NHPCO board of directors, this document reinforces the need for hospice and palliative care providers to utilize ethical marketing practices, which in turn, will ensure trust and support among those being served.

Ethical behavior exemplifies the foundational hospice values of service, respect, excellence, collaboration, and stewardship. These values can both inspire and challenge end-of-life professionals as they promote services available in the community.

"Hospice and palliative care providers are caring for individuals and families who may be particularly vulnerable as they cope with serious and life-limiting illness. The highest ethical practices and standards are necessary from every single provider in the industry — with no exceptions," said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO.

"This position statement will help providers to establish accountability for sound ethical practices as they engage in marketing efforts and business development," he added.

Key components

NHPCO's position statement focuses on six key components:

1. Access to Care

2. Competition

3. Customer Service Excellence and Boundaries

4. Hospice and Palliative Care Organizations as Referral Sources

5. New Trends in Marketing and Communication

6. Traditional Media Marketing

NHPCO strongly believes that sound ethical practices are an essential component of quality.

The statement stresses that responsive admissions systems and personnel that meet patients' and referral sources' needs are hallmarks of service excellence. NHPCO further states that marketing practices should be evaluated and monitored frequently to avoid unethical decisions and behaviors.

NHPCO hopes the document serves as a catalyst for dialogue within and among organizations that provide hospice and palliative care — a dialogue that will support and reinforce ethical standards of practice.

For full text of the NHPCO Position Statement on Ethical Marketing Practices, please see: http://www.nhpco.org/files/public/NHPCO_Ethical_Marketing_Statement_June11.pdf.