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April 1, 2009

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  • A simple benchmarking project for hospice: Reduce patient falls

    Keep it simple. Start with one study. Pick an event or symptom that is easy to monitor. As hospice managers began looking for ways to meet the Quality Assessment Performance Improvement (QAPI) requirements of the new hospice Conditions of Participation, experts recommended that hospices new to performance improvement studies choose a study that is easy to monitor, analyze, and implement improvement strategies.
  • Ask nurses for input when designing form

    Inclusion of all nursing staff members in the development of the falls risk assessment tool for Hernando Pasco Hospice in Hudson, FL, improved acceptance of the program and resulted in decreases in falls in the care centers using the tool, says Cyndi Cortes, RN, CHPN, administrator of the hospice's Marliere Care Center in New Port Richey, FL.
  • List interventions to use after assessment

    Assessing a patient's risk level for falls is an important part of any falls reduction program but having a policy or guidelines that describe appropriate interventions also is essential.
  • Quality of data is more important than quantity

    The only way a hospice manager can know why patients are falling is to gather the correct information on incident or occurrence reports, says Charlene Ross, RN, MSN, MBA, partner and consultant with RBC Consulting in Phoenix.
  • Ethical issues warrant hospice-specific group

    Are the medications safely out of reach of children? Can the family caregiver handle tasks required to care for the patient? Are family members following the wishes of the patient as indicated before he or she developed dementia? Is the patient safe in the home setting? Is the employee safe in the patient's home?
  • Family issues, safety top ethical concerns

    One of the most attractive aspects of hospice and other types of home health nursing is the constantly changing job; no two days are exactly alike. That same diversity also raises issues that hospital-based nurses don't face.
  • Diverse committee, communication are key

    An ethics service or ethics committee will look different in each hospice and home health agency, because the program should be geared to meet the specific needs of the agency, says Sigrid Fry-Revere, PhD, JD, medical ethicist and president of the Center for Ethical Solutions in Lovettsville, VA.
  • Take the medical ethics discussion to the people

    Medical ethics is not the typical topic of free community health discussions, but the staff at Winona (MN) Health's Home Care and Hospice, as well as Senior Services, have found a welcoming audience for the talk.
  • Alabama hospice settles fraud claims of $24.7M

    SouthernCare, a Birmingham, AL-based hospice provider, and its shareholders agreed to pay the United States $24.7 million to settle allegations that the company submitted false claims to the government for patients treated at its hospice facilities, the U.S. Justice Department has reported.
  • Many terminally ill patients feel abandoned by doctors

    Terminally ill patients and their family caregivers often feel abandoned by their doctors and feel a sense of "unfinished business" with them, according to a new study by an oncologist at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.
  • News Briefs: One-year moratorium on hospice funding cuts

    Hospices have one additional year to work on overturning the elimination of the hospice wage index that was mandated in a 2008 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulation. The signing of H.R. 1 - The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 by President Obama included the one-year moratorium.
  • MedPAC payment recs call for more accountability

    The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) recommendations to Congress for the reformation of the Medicare hospice benefit include strategies to remove incentives for long hospice lengths of stay, to improve oversight of hospice services and payments, and to improve data collection to facilitate better management of the hospice benefit.
  • Journal Review: Race affects hospice use in terminal cancer patients

    Recent research indicates that blacks and Asians with terminal cancer use end-of-life services less frequently than do whites and Hispanics.
  • Docs receive guidance on end-of-life care

    More than 1.4 million Americans were served by the nation's hospice providers last year, but patients, their families, and their physicians often don't know how to choose the best program for hospice, reports the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
  • Bereavement services should cater to families

    Although bereavement services are an integral part of hospice programs, not all services are viewed as beneficial to family members included in a study described in a recent issue of the Journal of Palliative Medicine.
  • Need for hospice volunteers recognized

    Volunteers contribute valuable services to hospice patients, but hospices generally don't publicize the use of volunteers to the general community. A recent study shows that educating the public about the services provided by hospice volunteers increases the likelihood that they would select hospice service.