Sep 20 2022
Reading Time: 3 minutes
By: Christie McWilliams, RN, Implementation Consultant, CitusHealth
Volunteers have been an important part of hospice and palliative care for a long time, which is why it’s now a mandated part of care. As a Condition of Participation (COP) requirement to receive payment from Medicare, 5% of total patient care and admin support must be done by volunteers—who could be nurses helping with clinical work or laypeople spending quality time with patients or even helping with administrative needs.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when many patients with serious illnesses experienced devastating isolation, these volunteers are helping to address the emotional needs of these patients by spending quality time—and new digital tools are helping them do this on a deeper level.
The right technology can help these volunteers communicate and engage with the care team—helping to ensure they have access to everything they need to serve patients and their families. Here are five ways technology can simplify the volunteer process and help keep your hospice or palliative care organization compliant.
Electronic forms can help volunteers get started.
Clinicians can send forms in real time requesting volunteers for a particular patient. This streamlines onboarding for care, educates volunteers on what the patient needs, and gathers any relevant data needed for them to get started.
Volunteers can document their time with ease.
While volunteers must document their time with patients, they’re not required to chart like a clinician. Instead, volunteers are only expected to account for their time spent with the patient and provide a brief description of what they did. With electronic forms, volunteers can quickly fill in this information and care teams can see it in real time—letting them know what their patients experienced with volunteers and for how long.
Chat messaging allows volunteers to schedule visits.
Once staff grants them access to the digital solution, volunteers can message patients and families in real time to discuss visit details. This gives care teams complete visibility of volunteer schedules and also streamlines communication between volunteers and those they serve.
Volunteers can easily communicate concerns to the care team.
With the right digital tools, volunteers can communicate any non-urgent patient concerns to the care team. They can send a message describing the problem, attach any relevant photos, and send it to the right person who can assess the situation and follow up with the patient or family member as needed.
Volunteer education can be kept all in one place.
Whether organizations have handbooks for onboarding or need to educate about patient care, volunteers can have everything at their fingertips when this information is electronic. This puts less strain on the care team to educate volunteers and also gives them the freedom to learn remotely on their own time.
In the end, when organizations make it easy for volunteers to volunteer, the process of finding and retaining this required part of your staff will be much easier. Schedule a CitusHealth demo today to see for yourself how our all-in-one platform is designed with care teams and volunteers in mind—to ultimately engage patients and families on a deeper level.