November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month in the United States. Hospice caregivers help people facing terminal illness by providing pain management and support tailored to individual needs and wishes. This model requires tremendous compassion, coordination and customization.
Thanks to both Patti Nichols, Clinical Records Team Lead, Pathways Hospice (Fort Collins, CO, USA) and Jill McKinnie, HIM Director, Cornerstone Hospice (Tavares, FL, USA) for sharing their experiences.
Hospice program for pet-owners: Pet Peace of Mind
Our hospice clients excel at many things, especially the three C’s. Jill gave a great example of how her team created a program to help care for patients’ pets:
An interesting aspect of our electronic health record is our organization has a program called Pet Peace of Mind. We have found that patients that are dying are very concerned for their pets and need them to be cared for.
What we have done is in our health record we have an area where we ask that information on admission so that we know what may be needed and then we provide follow up during that time.
We had a patient that needed to go to the hospice house. He was very ill, but he refused to leave his home because his pet could not be cared for. So, actually our entire staff — social worker, IT department, clinical department — went together. We went out, rescued the dog, found it a home, took it to its new home and then we had prepared information to give back to the patient so that he would know exactly what happened.
Believe it or not this occurred on a Thursday, the patient went to the hospice house on Friday and he died on Sunday. Peacefully, knowing that his information and his things had been taken care of, his pet was safe, he was safe and he was able to continue with what he needed to do.
This program illustrates how hospice caregivers really listen and respond to their patients with compassionate, coordinated and customized care.
Thank you, hospice caregivers
On behalf of Allscripts, I’d like to thank hospice caregivers for their dedication to compassionate care. If you’d like to share an encouraging word for hospice caregivers, please do so in the comments below.