Patient Referral

after hours hospice admisssions

Odd-hour hospice admissions are no trouble for Crossroads Hospice

It was 7:30 p.m. on a summer Saturday.

In Lenexa, Kansas, Betty Martin, who lived in a skilled nursing facility, suddenly took a turn for the worse. It was clear to Betty’s nurse, Joan, that she was in pain, and Joan remembered conversations with Betty about her fear of pain. With a glance at her watch, Joan groaned.

It’s Saturday night,” she thought. “Betty’s going to have a long night—and maybe a long 36 hours—until we can start the hospice admission process and begin comfort medications.”

Calling in to her Director of Nursing, Joan explained the situation, relaying her concern that Betty would have to wait until Monday for hospice. Joan was also uneasy because she couldn’t reach Betty’s daughter, who, as Betty’s healthcare power of attorney, would want to know and would have to sign hospice admission papers. It seemed like a hopeless situation. Betty would have to wait.

Does “expecting more” include Saturday night?

Betty’s DON wasn’t going to give up without trying to solve the situation. She remembered the few times she’d seen Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care staff in her facility, with their green scrubs and their challenge to “Expect more. We do.” This was the time to put this promise to the test.

When the phone rang, Crossroads’ social worker Lori Davis, LMSW was not surprised. On-call weekends were like that for social workers, who received calls for admissions to hospice and for bedside assistance for patients already on service from Crossroads’ nurses and aides. The DON was calling from Home Depot, relaying the problem of tracking down Betty’s daughter and Betty’s urgent need.

I just thought: we can get this done,” said Lori.

After a barrage of phone calls, the team found out that Betty’s daughter was in a camper, 45-miles away. Unaware that her mom would take a turn for the worse, she had taken a weekend get-away with her family.

Worse news: Although she could take phone calls, there was no way Betty’s daughter could get to her mom or even access a computer or fax, as their camper was surrounded by others, literally leaving her stuck at the campground for the weekend.

The papers had to be signed, and I didn’t want Betty to suffer. The staff loved Betty, and were really distraught, as was Betty’s daughter. I had a full tank of gas and a mission: to get the papers to Betty’s daughter and back to the nursing home so hospice admission could go forward.

Into the night Lori drove. At midnight, she met Betty’s daughter under a bridge at the side of the Kansas River, pen and paperwork in hand. After some conversation and a hug of support, Lori was off, activating a Crossroads nurse to begin working with Betty.

Within six hours of Joan detecting Betty’s new, worsened state, Betty was on hospice service and receiving comfort medications.

Here’s how to activate your patient’s hospice admission, even at odd hours

Crossroads Hospice is staffed to respond rapidly no matter what the time of day or night. Here’s how you can secure hospice admission, even on weekends:

You can also call your local Crossroads Hospice office 24/7. Here’s a link to Crossroads Hospice Locations. Crossroads has emergent care nurses on staff at all times to discuss care with referral sources as well as staff available to speak with patients and family members about hospice care--even before coming on service.

  • Share necessary records: you can fax them to Crossroads, or we’ll pick them up from your location. In general, we’ll need a face sheet, history and physical, and medication list. Crossroads will take it from here and complete the hospice admission process.
  • Within two hours, patients and families can expect their first in-person visit from a Crossroads staff member. Remember: Don’t wait until Monday. Crossroads Hospice is there to help!

What we want nurses, social workers and family members to know is that we are available,” said Crossroads Hospice social worker Julie Beaty. “We are extra hands and extra hearts to help patients, facility staff members, and families through this tough time. We never want anyone to feel alone. We are always ready to stand by your side.

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