End-of-Life Care

Since 1988 Archstone Foundation has provided funding to improve advance care planning; increase access to hospice care and services; educate and train professionals in end-of-life care; and support direct services that improve quality of life and offer dignity to dying patients.

Based on its early history, Archstone Foundation made a formal commitment to improve end-of-life care for all older adults in California.  In 2006, the Foundation launched the End-of-Life Initiative, providing over $6.7 million to improve the quality of care in hospitals and long-term care facilities, and to provide training and education in palliative care for health care providers.

In 2007, Archstone Foundation released the Hospital-Based Palliative Care Service Innovation Projects RFP to increase the number and quality of palliative care services in Southern California hospitals, and to develop sustainable models that may be replicated across the State.  Archstone Foundation selected five Southern California hospitals to establish palliative care programs to serve older adults with complex chronic and advanced illnesses, and funding to provide technical and evaluation assistance for the funded projects.

In 2009, Archstone Foundation hosted a national consensus conference in which a definition of spirituality was reached.

“Spirituality is the aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose and the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, self, to others, nature and to the significant or sacred.”

The work of this summit was chronicled in a report in the Journal of Palliative Medicine, which provides comprehensive guidelines on incorporating spirituality in end-of-life care.

Following the national consensus conference, and the evaluation of the five Archstone-funded hospital-based palliative care service innovation projects, the Foundation recognized an opportunity to improve how the spiritual needs of the dying are addressed.  In 2011, the Foundation funded the Spiritual Care Demonstration Projects, where nine Southern California hospitals tested the recommendations from the national consensus conference.  The goal was to increase knowledge, develop leadership, promote spiritual care models, and to formulate measurements and best practices to improve the quality of spiritual care with palliative care services.

A 2012 study of the projects found that spiritual care activities increased patient and family satisfaction, and increased staff knowledge and feelings of competency.  Many of the sites continue to integrate spiritual care beyond the demonstration timeframe.

Part and parcel to its dedication to improve advance care planning, increase access to hospice care and services, and to support direct services that improve quality of life and offer dignity to dying patients, Archstone Foundation also funded projects to educate and train professionals in end-of-life care.  The Foundation funded California-based palliative care trainings by the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC), a comprehensive effort to disseminate palliative care curricula for nursing professionals and to promote palliative care in nursing schools.  In 2011, the Foundation funded a web-based ELNEC to train professionals working in public hospitals that are developing and expanding palliative care programs to serve vulnerable patients.

Archstone Foundation has invested over $8 million in support of the End-of-Life Initiative.  Although the Foundation concluded its formal End-of-Life Initiative, its legacy continues on through the important work and projects of its partnerships.  StoryCorps’ Legacy: Southern California Project tells the stories of patients and families, while conveying the importance of spiritual care as a component of quality hospital-based palliative care; ELNEC continues to educate patients, nurses, and nursing students; the Palliative Care Quality Network (PCQN), is a continuous learning collaborative that contributes to the growth and future direction of palliative care; and the definition of spirituality is believed to be widely accepted and speaks to many.

Also in 2012, following an in-depth review of its philanthropy and the needs of the California’s diverse aging population, the Foundation began to wind down its commitments to end-of-life care and to focus its grantmaking on its new priority areas. Archstone Foundation is no longer seeking unsolicited proposals in its legacy areas of fall prevention, elder abuse and neglect, and end-of-life care.  

For further information on projects previously funded under the End-of-Life Initiative, refer to the Grants Database.