"Imagine" seven colleges contributing and cooperating to bring the highest quality care to Oklahoma consumers suffering chronic, serious, life-limiting illness. This is the goal of the Oklahoma Palliative Care Resource Center as the interdisciplinary source of information for health providers and consumers in Oklahoma. Six years ago, it was the vision of a group of dedicated Oklahoma leaders to create what has become a reality hosted by the OU College of Medicine for the benefit of its students, residents, faculty, staff and the state-wide community at large.
The creation of Oklahoma Palliative Care Resource Center on March 1, 2006, is the result of almost two years of investigation and preparation by Oklahomans committed to removing barriers for consumers of health care nearing the end of life.
In April, 2004, Oklahoma Attorney General W.A. Drew Edmondson invited 15 state leaders from the health and legal professions to serve as members of a state task force along with more than 80 decision-makers from the state legislature, judiciary, state agencies, long term care facilities, hospices and educators on an advisory committee to report on the state of end-of-life care in Oklahoma.
With the support of advisory committee members and experts in end-of-life care, the task force submitted 50 recommendations to improve end-of-life health care for Oklahoma consumers in April, 2005. One of these recommendations was for the creation of a resource center for palliative care.
Building on the vision of the Office of Attorney General, the recommendation of the Attorney General's Task Force to Improve End-of-Life Care, the resource center is now a state-wide resource offered by the Oklahoma University College of Medicine Department of Family & Preventative Medicine.
What is OPCRC?
Our goals are two-fold:
to encourage a continuing dialogue between patients, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and physicians regarding complex medical and bioethical issues; and
to encourage conversation between family and friends so that Oklahoma consumers may make informed decisions about the care that we want for ourselves and others in both curative and palliative treatment of chronic, debilitating and life-threatening illness
Our Mission is to serve as a state-wide resource dedicated to providing competent, comprehensive, compassionate palliative and end-of-life care accessible to all Oklahomans by:
encouraging community dialogue about living with serious chronic, debilitating and terminal illness near the end of life
promoting professional training and continuing education for health care professionals and other stakeholders in palliative and end-of-life care
providing a forum for hospices, hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, state government, advocacy organizations, colleges and universities to share best practices for palliative and end-of-life care
providing an educational catalyst and central contact for professionals and interested citizens who want to learn more about palliative and end-of-life care; and
educating through the OPCRC web site, lectures, seminars, in-services, public presentations and professional consultation.
Our Accomplishments and Thanks
The OPCRC has provided speakers for professional and community groups across the state. In addition to the Director, Annette Prince, others have shared their knowledge generously across the state and in conferences hosted by and for the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center. Other health facilities have also contributed, including St. John Health Center in Tulsa, Grace Living Centers, Good Shepherd Hospice, the Oklahoma Association for Hospice and Palliative Care, Frontier Hospice, and Excell Home Care and Hospice. The support of the University Hospitals Authority and Trust makes the continuation of the center possible. Individuals who have donated their personal passion, time and commitment include Drew and Linda Edmondson, DeWayne Andrews, Danny Cavett, Jacqueline Cook, Steve Crawford and many others who share our mission.
The result of this team effort includes hosting seven annual conferences, five of which have been live, interactive web casts and archived videos on palliative care, advance health planning and bioethics topics which are available to health professionals and consumers at no cost. Distribution of written materials for education on these topics and continuous updates of resources are available on the OPCRC web site. The OPCRC was also influential in legislation improving the rights of Oklahomans to plan in advance for medical treatment.