While 88 percent of Americans now say they would prefer to age-in-place at home, Home Health Care News reports that few have a plan in place to ensure effective home-based care.1 As a result, family members are often pressed into service as long-term caregivers, but as noted by recent research this puts them under significant stress, especially as patient conditions deteriorate.2
Dedicated hospice care providers can help bridge the gap by allowing patients to age in a more home-like setting but with the benefit of trained medical staff on-site. The challenge? Facilitating patient transitions to hospice care while minimizing complications for staff, patients and their families. Here are three steps to help streamline the shift.
Ensure Simplified Hospice Scheduling
With hospice usage on the rise, many providers now face the challenge of effectively managing patient intake even as they adapt to the “next normal” of post-pandemic operations.3 Effective scheduling is essential to this transitional effort — if patients or their families feel rushed or ignored during the process, it can undermine their confidence in hospice programs at large, in turn making it more difficult to forge the reciprocal relationships that are central to effective care.
To help handle patient intake and reduce stress for patients and their families, it’s worth deploying solutions that offer dynamic, real-time scheduling tools, which automatically detect and flag potential schedule overlaps. By significantly reducing the risk of scheduling errors, hospice care providers can ensure new patients get the time and attention they deserve.
Prioritize Hospice Patient Personalization
This leads to the next priority in patient transitions: personalization. As noted by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), patients and their families are often best-served by asking key questions of hospice providers around the type of services and support provided, along with the specific roles of any attending physicians and care staff.4
What patients and families are generally looking for is a focus on patient-centered care that takes into account physical, emotional and mental needs to deliver a comprehensive care experience. Integrated assessment solutions that offer a single point of reference for collaborative care plans offer a way to both ensure consistent care delivery and highlight providers’ commitment to truly personalized hospice practices.
Deliver Connective Consistency
According to Hospice News, staffing is now one of the biggest challenges for hospice providers.5 With resident volumes on the rise, staffing levels haven’t kept pace, often leaving fewer staff with more work across more patients. Combined with expanding compliance requirements to ensure standardized care supports, hospice teams already stretched thin may find themselves sacrificing patient connections for necessary paperwork.
To help address this growing divide and deliver connective consistency, it’s worth implementing point of care compliance tools that provide on-demand access to critical documentation, medical reports and invoice forms along with automatic detection of potential compliance conflicts. With staff now at a premium and regulatory processes on the rise, streamlining the documentation and reporting process provides more time for healthcare professionals to connect with patients during their critical transition phase.
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1 Home Health Care News, “Hoping to Age in Place, Americans Want Long-Term Care Help from Medicare,” May 3, 2021.
2 BMC Palliative Care, “Caregiver Exposure to Critical Events and Distress in Home-Based Palliative Care in Germany a Cross-Sectional Study Using the Stressful Caregiving Adult Reactions to Experiences of Dying (Scared) Scale,” January 24, 2019
3 The Journal of Healthcare Management, “The Association of Increasing Hospice Use With Decreasing Hospital Mortality, An Analysis of the National Inpatient Sample,” March 2020.
4 NHPCO, “Choosing a Hospice,” 2021.
5 Hospice News, “Hospice Providers: Staffing is Our Top 2020 Challenge,” February 11, 2020.