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Hospice Management Advisor Archives – January 1, 2009

January 1, 2009

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  • Regulatory changes top list of 2009 challenges for hospice

    The year 2009 will represent a year of change for hospices with new conditions of participation, greater scrutiny of claims, and new requirements for data collection. What is not known is how the economy, along with sociological and political changes, will affect the industry.
  • Behavioral changes might be biggest challenge in '09

    Change is never easy, but the toughest type of change is behavior or culture change within a hospice, says Susan Levitt, executive director of CNS Home Health and Hospice in Carol Stream, IL. As hospices face more regulation, fiscal responsibility will become an important part of every staff member's mindset, she says.
  • Hospice community to provide input on reform

    President-elect Obama has indicated that health care reform will be a top priority in his administration. Former Sen. Tom Daschle, (D-SD) who has accepted Obama's offer to serve as Health and Human Services Secretary, is the leader of the Transition's Health Policy Team. Daschle is asking Americans to help with reform efforts by sharing their health care experiences and concerns.
  • Volunteers preserve memories for families

    Asking hospice patients to share and record their stories not only provides enjoyment to the patients as they recall important moments in their lives, but it also gives families a lasting memory of their loved ones.
  • Accusations of theft by employees increase

    "Hospice nurse arrested for theft." ... "Family accuses hospice nurse of stealing from patient."
  • Limits, disclosure avoid misunderstandings

    Hospice nurses, aides, and therapists do a wonderful job caring for their patients, so it is natural that the patients and families want to thank them with gifts. Unfortunately, the size and type of gift can put the employee and agency into the uncomfortable position of being accused of theft if strict guidelines are not developed and followed.
  • Background checks, references are important

    Checking a potential employee's background is harder than ever, with previous employers reluctant to give much information about the employee beyond the dates they worked at the organization.
  • Doctors' legal questions might result in patient pain

    When treatment options dwindle or are exhausted, terminally ill patients often opt for pain management and comfort over life-extending therapies. However, researchers report that a lack of thorough understanding about the laws governing end-of-life care might leave providers with an ethical dilemma and cause some terminally ill patients considerable, unnecessary pain.
  • Terminal patients given OK to administer lethal drugs

    Washington state voters recently approved a measure permitting terminally ill adults to request and self-administer lethal medications prescribed by a physician, according to the American Hospital Association (AHA).
  • Patient-controlled pain med can increase risk of errors

    Intravenous patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) allows patients to control their own pain medication, but a new study published in the December 2008 issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety shows that errors related to this practice are four times more likely to result in patient harm than errors that occur with other medications.
  • Number of patients grows by 3.8%

    Recently released data reflecting 2007 usage of hospice indicates that 38.8% of all deaths in the United States were under the care of hospice, up from 35% the previous year.
  • Advanced certification created for social workers

    The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) have created the advanced certified hospice and palliative social worker credential (ACHP-SW).
  • Woman who launched first hospice dies

    Florence Wald, a former Yale nursing dean whose interest in compassionate care led her to launch the first U.S. hospice program, has died, according to the Associated Press (AP). She was 91.
  • Hospital discharges to post-acute care on rise

    The annual number of patients discharged from U.S. community hospitals to home health care rose 53% between 1997 and 2006, while the number discharged to long-term care and other facilities rose 30%, according to a new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
  • Medicare issues home health PPS notice

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a notice to update the Home Health Prospective Payment System (HH PPS) for calendar year 2009.