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We talk a lot in hospice about how hospice helps patients.

Whether it’s the in-service presentations for facilities, marketing materials and messaging for your referral sources, and articles and social media posts across the digital universe, the focus of hospice benefits is primarily, how hospice helps patients.

Speaking with a marketer at one of the local agencies we work with, they were stuck. The marketer went into a SNF, met with the admin/owner, and gave the pitch –

  • Our care is great
  • We have an amazing team
  • We’ll do anything for our patients
  • Our team is super-caring
  • Putting your residents on hospice is the right thing to do

The admin replied: Yeah, I hear that from every hospice agency that comes through my door. But my people give great care and while we don’t bill for hospice, the care is full time 24/7. And why do I want all sorts of other people walking around in my facility. All it does is create headaches for me and my team. And at the end of the day, hospice costs me money, and on top of that I have to deal with room & board payments, which is a whole other layer of hassle and delayed cash flow. I’m happy to spend money to give my residents better care, but why is your nurse coming in once or twice a week and taking money out of our pockets better than my round the clock nursing staff?

How does hospice help me? How does hospice help my facility?

Lessons From CAHPS: Patient & Caregiver Satisfaction

Let’s take a step back for a minute and look at what’s important to your hospice agency’s CHAP survey.

Aside from the number one goal of hospice – pain and symptom management, communication is the main driver of patient and caregiver satisfaction with your agency.

After patients pass, their primary caregiver will receive the CAHPS survey. Other than relieving pain and symptom management, the top 5 drivers of satisfaction for hospice agencies are as follows:

  1. The hospice team always listened carefully to the caregiver.
  2. The hospice team always listened carefully about problems with care.
  3. The hospice team always explained things in an easily understood way.
  4. The hospice team always really cared about the patient.
  5. The hospice team always kept the family member informed about the patient’s condition.

It’s all about communication.

Hospice isn’t just about the care you deliver it’s about how they feel about their care.

People will tell you what they want and need. You don’t need to be the NSA to hear them. Listening to your patients and caregivers, really hearing them and addressing their specific needs is how your clinicians deliver value.

That concept follows through to care plans – every care plan must be personalized and individualized to the patient. A cookie cutter care plan that’s repeated over and over is a surefire path to getting dinged on a survey.

Side note: We are super proud of our Hospice Tools Smart Care Plans. If your team struggles with creating, updating, personalizing and so many other common pitfalls that plague the corporate rigid reworked home health EMRs, you need to check out how we do care plans!

Hospice care isn’t delivered by a robot. Hospice care is delivered by people who need to connect and listen and effectively communicate the specific value for that patient’s unique needs.

Marketing for hospice is exactly the same. Hospice marketers need to be able to listen and communicate the specific value your agency brings to your referral sources’ unique needs.

The Marketer’s Reply

More than once we’ve seen marketers reply with a variation of the patient care focused pitch – and maybe they get some referrals maybe they don’t, but that’s really just a numbers game. They never brought the value to that admin and therefore never solidified a strong relationship that will generate consistent ongoing referrals.

Luckily this particular marketer knew what they didn’t know, which is how their agency delivers value beyond patient care. The marketer did the smart thing and told the admin, ‘I don’t know. But I hear what you’re saying and I’m going to look into this more, and I’m going to get back to you with how hospice specifically helps you and your facility.

The marketer reached out and we’re happy to share some of the key points that this marketer presented to the SNF admin:

How Hospice Brings Value to SNFs

Hospital Costs

The Nursing Home Care Act requires a nursing facility to hold a bed for a maximum of ten days when a resident is hospitalized. Source

Assuming a 200 bed facility with 5% appropriate for hospice in a given month:

  • $150 room rate X 5 day hospital stay = $750 revenue lost per month per patient
  • $750 X 3 patient hospitalizations = $2250 revenue lost per month for 3 patient hospitalizations.
  • $2250 X 12 months = $27,000 annualized revenue lost per month for just 3 patient hospitalizations per month.

Hospice Cuts Facility Costs & Improves Ratings

  • “Increasing hospice services can reduce hospital admissions among all residents of a nursing home, including those not enrolled in hospice, according to findings recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association (JAMDA).” Source
  • “For every 10% increase in “hospice penetration” at a given facility, the risk of hospitalization decreases 5.1% for non-hospice residents and 4.8% for hospice-enrolled residents, the investigators determined.” Source
  • “Nonhospice patients had more hospitalizations, more stays in intensive care units, and more invasive procedures compared to patients who opted for hospice, the researchers found.” Source
  • “Family members believe that nursing home hospice improves quality of care for symptoms, reduces hospitalizations, and adds value and services for dying nursing home residents.” Source

And because this agency uses Hospice Tools with eBilling RCM that has an unbelievable seamless Room & Board tracking system, they were able to commit to error free timely payments:

The Result

Because this marketer listened, heard, and delivered specific personalized value, this long term admin who had for many years resisted hospice and would only allow referrals at the last possible moment, is now a strong and consistent referral source.

Within each facility it’s crucial that your team understands the value your agency delivers. Talking with the Dir of social shouldn’t have the same pitch as when talking with an admin or a DON or a patient’s family. Personalize and individualize your marketing to each person’s specific needs so you have the opportunity to deliver personalized and individualized care for each specific patient.

Communication is how you build a long term partnership that delivers real value. That’s a core value at Hospice Tools and why we focus on delivering value for independent hospice agencies.

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Hospice Tools is the EMR built from the ground up for hospice & palliative agencies to deliver pro features such as:

  • Super-fast IDG 
  • Smart care plans
  • Customizable forms
  • Export charts and reports with a click!
  • Hospice billing with seamless Medicaid Room & Board tracking
  • Unparalleled service & support

and so very much more!

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