Creating Optimal Healing Environments for Patients with Advanced Illness


On September 15, Bonnie Sakallaris, PhD, RN, explored the role of an Optimal Healing Environment (OHE) in the context of advanced illness care in an hour-long webinar available for public viewing. The presentation was part of the Veterans Health Administration Employee Education System and included more than 120 participants including VA physicians, chaplains, nurses, and social workers.


Watch the full webinar


In addition to exploring how to optimize healing for advanced illness, hospice and palliative care, Dr. Sakallaris:

  • Explored the unique needs of Veterans with advanced illness,
  • Considered the importance of healing relationships to the experience of healing when cure is not possible, and
  • Revealed healing oriented practices that can relieve caregiver burden as well as patient suffering.

Dr. Scott Shreve, Director of Hospice and Palliative Care at the Department of Veterans Affairs, moderated the discussion. Recently, Samueli Institute’s CEO and President Wayne B. Jonas, MD, had the opportunity to interview Dr. Shreve in a podcast on end of life care for Veterans.

During the discussion, Dr. Shreve noted that only 3% of the 600,000 Veterans who died this past year died in a VA facility. To better serve the 97% of Veterans receiving end of life care outside of the VA, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) collaborated with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) to develop We Honor Veterans, which engages community hospices and empowers them about Veteran issues.

In additional to its educational work in the area of hospice and palliative care, Samueli Institute is also planning a nine-month Breakthrough Collaborative, in which Samueli Institute and participating home hospice and palliative care organizations will achieve breakthrough improvements in relieving human suffering — specifically, pain, anxiety, dyspnea, helplessness and finding meaning in suffering.

This Breakthrough Series Collaborative will be in the forefront of change to define innovative solutions to:

  • Relieve caregiver burnout and fatigue
  • Address pay-for-performance issues
  • Gain a competitive edge when serving the baby boomer population

More information on the Collaborative is available here.