Deciding which hospice program is the best option to help care for a family member or loved one can be a very daunting and emotional challenge.
How do you begin to make such a decision? What are the key questions one should ask in comparing hospice programs? How can a consumer determine how one hospice measures up against another?
Over the past few years, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have made great strides to provide consumers with hard data and transparent information on a series of key quality measures to help them make better informed choices in the type of end-of-life care that family members and loved ones receive.
One key quality measure for CMS is the number of visits a patient receives from the hospice provider during the last seven days, when end of life becomes imminent.
When a hospice provider makes more visits, it’s more likely that the patient is getting individualized care that is consistent with the patient’s, family’s or caregiver’s preferences. That contributes to the overall well-being of both the patient and their loved ones.
That’s a perspective that Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care wholeheartedly agrees with.
When Crossroads first began its hospice program back in 1995, its approach was founded on two basic principles:
1. You shouldn’t die in pain.
2. You shouldn’t die alone.
It’s a commitment that continues to this day. And based on CMS data, it shows.
What do the numbers show?
According to CMS, Crossroads ranks second in the nation in the number of hours that a registered nurse, social worker, or home health aide spends with a patient in their last seven days. In fact, Crossroads’ total end-of-life hours surpass the national average for hospices by 213 percent.
In addition, Crossroads is one of only four among the top 23 hospice programs in the nation that actually increase the amount of care provided during the last seven days. Our service intensity increases by 71 percent on average, compared to the next highest competitor, whose average increase is 48 percent.
The fact is, overall, Crossroads provides two-and-a-half times more care than the national average for hospices during the last seven days. That’s significant.
Perhaps just as significant is the fact that, on average, nonprofit hospice programs actually show an 18 percent decrease in the level of patient care during the last seven days.
Evenmore© Care Program.
Crossroads’ strong showing in the CMS quality measures reflects a long-held policy to do what’s best for the patient – regardless of whether or not the services are covered by Medicare. It’s part of what is called the Evenmore© Care Program.
With a unique staffing model, Crossroads sees patients virtually every day. Because of that higher level of contact, Crossroads’ staff can quickly identify an increase or sudden decline in a patient’s condition. Once that happens, the Watch Program© begins.
Crossroads’ Watch Program© is a special level of care that monitors a patient’s condition several times throughout the day. Thus, staff can better recognize when a patient’s passing may be imminent. At that point, every effort is exhausted to stay by their side.
Our ultimate goal as hospice providers is to be there when patients and families need us most. The Watch© and Evenmore© Care programs enable Crossroads to consistently exceed the national average for being with patients and families at the time of passing – as the numbers demonstrate.
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