Hospice care, like many other medical and health-related services, is made up of many different treatments, medical professionals, types of equipment, and various medications. To keep all of these elements organized, it’s important to coordinate care. Proper care coordination, in a hospice care setting, involves the deliberate organization of patient care activities to ensure the fast, effective delivery of healthcare services. Without coordination, hospice care patients may not receive the support they need, and families may not feel that they’re receiving enough information about their loved one’s care. Here’s what to expect from good care coordination in a hospice setting.
How Coordinated Care Works
In practice, care coordination involves extensive communication with patients and staff members to create a high-quality care plan. For example, a hospice team may meet all together to decide general responsibilities for each member. Then, they will assess the patient’s needs and goals before creating their plan. After the plan is put in place, the team will monitor the patient’s health and respond to changes in their needs by providing different care or connecting them to new resources. These can include new medication, medical equipment, counseling services, and other resources. When coordinated care works, it brings several major benefits to patients and their families.
Coordinated care helps teams organize themselves to provide that care more effectively. Effective and clear communication is vital in a coordinated care environment. When each person understands how their role interacts with another, they’ll be able to proactively inform the relevant people of any changes they see in a patient or take action themselves, if possible. They’ll also be able to communicate with the right person quickly and clearly, helping the patient get the care they need faster. Instead of trying to do everything themselves or wasting time trying to understand who to speak with to resolve an issue, a coordinated care team already has processes in place for these situations.
More Informed Patients, Caregivers, and Staff
Because communication is such an important part of coordinated care, you can expect everyone involved to be more informed. Hospice care staff will communicate with each other and the patient regularly to understand the patient’s needs and make a plan to best meet them. Staff will also keep patients and their families, including caregivers, as informed as possible about illnesses, symptoms, and other important medical information. They will also keep patients and their families up-to-date on changes to medical staff, medications, and new equipment used for the treatment of the patient’s condition. This helps create a higher standard of care and ensures that the patient’s needs are met.
Better Preventative Care
Preventative care helps avoid illnesses before they have a chance to take hold. This is particularly important in the elderly and sick, as weakened immune systems are more susceptible to serious impact from illnesses. Coordinated care helps provide good preventative measures because of its focus on treating the whole person. A team of hospice care workers, each of whom specializes in a particular area of health, will consistently take the time to speak with your loved one about how they’re feeling. This patient-centered care is important in identifying and preventing illness. Further communication with other staff members also ensures that everyone is aware of your loved one’s condition and is equipped to support them.
As discussed, coordinated care works wonders for communication. Without strong communication, this type of care would not be possible. Staff members, caregivers, and patients must be in constant conversation with each other to create the best results, and communication is often streamlined and improved in the process. Through improved communication, you and your family will always have accurate and detailed information about your loved one’s condition as well as access to the right resources for continual support.
Reduced Healthcare Costs
Better medical treatment means fewer duplications, less time lost, and more money saved. Thanks to coordinated care, patients get what they need faster, helping them save money on medication, equipment, appointments, and other resources involved in their care. It’s also more likely that they’ll be provided with the right treatment earlier, helping sidestep costly trial and error or more serious symptoms that develop as a result. This is particularly important for elderly patients who might be paying for their care with Medicare benefits, which can often be limited.
Choosing a Coordinated Care Team
Speak to Harbor Light Hospice for more information about care coordination in hospice and how Harbor Light’s coordinated hospice care program can benefit you. The organization provides specially trained nurses, doctors, therapists, counselors, and other medical professionals to help support your loved one and family through this often difficult period of life. These teams make communication a clear priority, helping them coordinate care and provide valuable resources that increase quality of life for patients.