How Telehealth Enhances the Delivery of Hospice Care

Portrait of a concerned male doctor or nurse wearing blue scrubs uniform and stethoscope sitting at desk with laptop in hospital checking mobile phone

Recently, Jody Holmes-Dion (Director of Operational Consulting for Hospice at WellSky) shared her experiences and perspectives on the future state of hospice care and how virtual care will continue to play a critical role for clinicians:

  • Managing Patient Symptoms in Real-time: “By adopting telehealth, providers can manage health outcomes across populations of patients. Telehealth really helped us increase our access to care by allowing the case managers to talk to patients about chronic disease management, while promoting in-person visits for high acuity or high symptom management cases and on-demand access to help caregivers when they’re experiencing problems when caring for patients. In addition, it helped improve the quality of care because telehealth facilitated quicker assessments of an escalation of symptoms or functional declines that the patient was experiencing and allowed for more timely, effective interventions.”
  • Engaging and Educating LTCF Staff: “” We were providing a non-emergent care to long term care facilities. In addition, education and training for health care proxy and caregivers, as well as facility staff. One unique thing that we did, and maybe not so unique, maybe there’s a lot of agencies out there that did it, but when we only were allowed to have a nurse and an aide in a building, oftentimes that nurse would bring up the virtual call while she was there with the patient. We would interface at that time with the chaplain and the social worker. So, we were trying to be very creative on how we prioritized our visitations.”
  • Driving Creativity and Innovation in Care Delivery: “Telehealth can stretch our staff in new ways to expand access to care and allow our providers to feel like they’re providing really top-notch care for their patients and families. Finally, and most importantly, COVID-19 really has fast forwarded our digital health transformation across all of hospice and across healthcare in general. Creating that meaningful human connection has required creativity and innovation.”
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