Study: Family caregivers reveal what matters most in hospice

Study: Family caregivers reveal what matters most in hospice

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Keeping a pulse on what matters most to your customers is critical for any business, and hospice organizations are no exception. They must tend to the needs of their patients and family members involved in the patient’s care.

To help hospice leaders better understand what hospice family caregivers really want (and need), we commissioned a study that revealed family caregiver communications and engagement strategies play a bigger role in key hospice performance metrics than most leaders may realize.

Let’s explore the results of the study and how they may impact your organization.

The state of hospice family caregiver communications

Hospice organizations are still highly dependent on outdated communication methods for engaging with non-medical care team members. These antiquated methods limit an organization’s ability to be responsive to patient needs.

The survey reveals that immediate responses are rarely available when traditional communication methods are in play, which greatly increases the chances of costly complications, such as emergency room visits. When family caregivers have urgent questions that go unanswered, satisfaction scores also suffer.

  • 65% reported that the patient had to go to the hospital to address an issue that the caregiver believed the hospice care team could have addressed or helped avoid if they had been able to reach a team member. Emergency room visits and hospitalizations play a significant role in value-based care.
  • 69% indicated that they were less than fully satisfied with their hospice teams on four of the major CAHPS survey quality measures that are tied to communication. Patient and caregiver satisfaction contribute to several CAHPS measures.
  • 77% said they would more likely choose a hospice partner that they could communicate with in real time through a mobile phone, tablet, or computer. Community referrals contribute to growth in an organization’s average daily census.

The impact of modern communication and collaboration methods

In our post-pandemic society where the conveniences of virtual/remote telehealth and electronic engagement became the norm, healthcare consumers now expect more digital and dynamic engagement with their care providers.

No matter which communication channel was used or how urgent the need was, hospice family caregivers expressed frustration with their hospice care teams. The most common frustrations mentioned among caregivers when trying to collaborate with their hospice provider included:

#1: The time it took to get a response from a care team member

#2: Playing phone tag with a care team member

#3: Inability to sign important documents electronically

#4: Inability to easily connect with care team members

#5: Coordinating schedule changes

Meeting hospice family caregiver expectations

As hospice providers seek new ways to improve response times, improve CAHPS scores, and grow their average daily census counts, finding the right patient and family caregiver engagement and family caregiver solutions is critical.

  • 96% of referring providers say they are likely to send more referrals to post-acute care providers with strong patient engagement capabilities.
  • 93% of hospice family caregivers say they are more likely to choose a home health partner who enables them to communicate instantly with the care team members (with instant messaging or telehealth) through mobile phone, tablet, or computer.
  • 60% of home health agencies say they are planning to invest in more advanced patient engagement capabilities in the near future.

With a wide range of options, it can be overwhelming for agency leaders to discern the differences between multiple patient engagement solutions. Talk to a CitusHealth expert to learn how we can help your organization better meet the needs family caregivers.


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