Setting an aim is critical to achieving breakthrough change. Teams need to be sure they choose specific, numeric, and feasible aims that signify recognizable improvement. Focusing on an aim is an essential step in creating change. A team might have a general sense that it wants to improve comfort care for all dying patients who come to its hospital or nursing home - but limits the aim initially to state that all patients with advanced heart disease will have a comfort care plan in place for at least 90 days before death.
Throughout this sourcebook, aims from other organizations are featured. These can be adapted to fit the needs of other organizations. Stating an aim offers a starting point for the team, one from which members can begin to build consensus about where to begin and which changes to try.
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This online version of the book Improving Care for the End of Life: A Sourcebook for Health Care Managers and Clinicians is provided with permission of Americans for Better Care of the Dying [ www.abcd-caring.org ] and Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
For further information on quality improvement in end-of-life care visit The Palliative Care Policy Center [ www.medicaring.org ].