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Bereaved family members rate care from hospices
How to achieve an 'excellent' rating
A survey of bereaved family members shows that good communication, emotional support, accurate information, and a single caregiver are more likely to rate their satisfaction as "excellent."
In an article that appeared in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, researchers described the specific issues that contribute to high satisfaction by family members of a hospice patient.1 "Understanding the determinants of family members' overall satisfaction with hospice service may provide information that can help the hospice industry improve both the quality of care patients and families receive at the end of life as well as the family member's overall satisfaction with this care," according to the authors.
A total of 116,974 surveys from 819 hospices in the United States were used to evaluate satisfaction levels. When asked to evaluate their satisfaction with the hospice staff's attendance to family needs for support, respondents were more likely to rate the service as excellent if they felt they had sufficient contact with the hospice team about their religious or spiritual beliefs and if they believed that the hospice team provided them with the right amount of emotional support, report the authors.
Higher overall satisfaction levels also were reported by family members who believed they had adequate information about what they could expect while the patient was dying, medications used to manage pain, and information about treatment for dyspnea. Family members were three times more likely to have higher satisfaction levels if they were kept regularly informed of their family member's condition, add the authors.
Satisfaction levels were higher when family members believed that there was strong coordination of care. Knowing that one nurse was in charge of the patient's care is important, as is feeling confident that members of the hospice team are knowledgeable about the patient's medical history and are giving accurate information to the family.
Preparing the family for the patient's death requires honest communications and accurate information. This preparation may reduce complications of the grieving process, such as depression and anxiety, for family members, the authors add.
1. Rhodes RL, Mitchell SL, Miller SC, et al. Bereaved family members' evaluation of hospice care: What factors influence overall satisfaction with services? J Pain Symptom Manage 2008; 35:365-371.