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Volunteers of America, Inc.
Volunteers of America (in Alexandria, Virginia), the organization that for more than 100 years has offered support to prisoners, parolees and their families, spearheaded a project to address the end-of-life care provided to the nation's men and women incarcerated in prisons. The project brought together wardens, clinicians, pastors, attorneys and inmate advocates to assess the changes needed in end-of-life care in prisons and to develop standards of hospice and palliative care for the nearly 3,000 people who die in prisons each year in America.
The project, called GRACE, in collaboration with corrections departments in New York, North Carolina, Oregon and the Federal Medical Center for Women in Texas, created in-house hospice services within their prisons and correctional institutions.
The hospice programs included state-of-the-art pain management, educational programs for corrections health staff and other corrections staff and a program to train inmates as hospice volunteers.
Other collaborators in the project included the American Correctional Association, the Center to Improve Care of the Dying and the National Prison Hospice Association. The project team developed recommended "Standards for Hospice and Palliative Care in Correctional Settings" and produced a resource manual.
After the Grant
The National Commission on Correctional Health Care adopted the end-of-life standards developed by project researchers. The resource center was formally transferred to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO).
Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care was a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation dedicated to long-term changes in health care institutions to substantially improve care for dying people and their families.