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The National Consensus Project originated as a result of a national leadership conference held December 12, 2001 in New York City. The purpose of the Leadership Conference was to define and agree upon an effective national consensus process to establish voluntary Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care in the United States. Participants at this conference were nominated by their peers. The Center to Advance Palliative Care at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City coordinated the conference. Conference participants affirmed that an effective process for creating and disseminating a consensus document must be inclusive, interdisciplinary, transparent (easily described and understood), and meaningful to those who will be affected.

Participation and buy-in from stakeholders was a crucial concern, because the impact of the consensus depends on endorsement of both the palliative and end-of-life care communities and those who are involved with policy, regulation, fiscal management and other aspects of health care.

Following the December 2001 conference, the meeting attendees nominated a Steering Committee. This Steering Committee met regularly to guide the process and prepared a draft document for review and endorsement.

The Steering Committee identified five organizations representing the scope of palliative care practice and essential to the development of the NCP. These organizations joined to form a consortium to oversee and ensure the success of the NCP. They include:

  • American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
  • Center to Advance Palliative Care
  • Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association
  • Last Acts Partnership
  • National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization