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Ways to boost hospice utilization

On Behalf of | Sep 25, 2023 | Healthcare Business

Hospice provides countless individuals with an essential service on their last steps of life’s journey. New research has shown ways to lower the costs and open up more people to the idea of hospice so that the service is better utilized. This is helpful for anyone in Texas with loved ones who may be in need.

Making hospice work best for patients

Quality hospice care demonstrates that, in spite of the terminal process they’re going through, there’s still time left for laughter, love, learning and growth. Their circumstances can’t be reversed, but the important thing is that they’re still alive now. According to a pilot program organized by an ACO (Accountable Care Organization), there are a handful of key questions that can make all the difference in hospice utilization and satisfaction rates.

The first step is to simply ask the individual how they’re doing. The interviewer then moves on to whether or not they are afraid, and they ask them if there’s anything that they hold sacred to themselves. Finally, they ask about their inner voice and what it tells them about their life expectancy.

Part of the key to this process isn’t just the questions themselves but the way they’re asked. In the first question, it’s important to ask them how they are two times. It’s all too common for people to brush the question off or reflexively give an overly simple answer that isn’t entirely honest.

Reduced expenditures and increased satisfaction

Thanks to this pilot program, one rural hospital’s per capita healthcare expenditures went down by 70%. This hospital was the third-biggest nondenominational health system at the time.

In the admissions department, this pilot program saw vast improvements as well. Thanks to its contributions, they saw a 98% increase in satisfaction rates among patients and caregivers.

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation organized this project ran from 2011 to 2015. A total of 32 hospitals and other health systems participated with hopes that it will improve hospice law moving forward.

According to an ACO pilot program, goal-of-care conversations are crucial to increase hospice utilization. These discussions involve a simple set of questions with the purpose of finding out why a person might need hospice and how it can work best for them.