VITAS Advantage: Case Study on 24/7/365 Care Support for Hospitals

Hospice Relieves Symptom Burden Through 24/7/365 Professional Care

In a review of studies about end-of-life care for cancer patients, the authors of a report in the Journal of Clinical Oncology outline ways hospice helps patients with advanced cancer and their caregivers.

“Hospice care improves symptom control in problems prevalent at the end of life,” the researchers explain. Symptom relief for advanced cancer patients nearing the end of life often involves addressing one or more common symptoms, such as:

  • Breathlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Delirium

“Good analgesia is often the priority for patients and their families above any other symptom,” they write, adding that evidence shows hospice provides patients with superior pain management, especially when such care is available 24/7/365.

Delirium, including cognitive changes, hallucinations, and disturbances in sleep/wake cycles, can be treated with excellent nursing care, treatment of any reversible causes, proper hydration and nutrition, and support to help orient the patient, according to the study.

Supportive end-of-life care keeps patients where they and their hospice providers want them to be: at home, surrounded by familiarity and comfort.

Patients are likely to open up about more issues when their care team includes a group of experts, as is the case with the hospice multidisciplinary team approach, the authors explain. “[G]iven the breadth of patient-defined needs at the end of life, several health professionals working collaboratively will be essential to achieve the best possible patient outcomes.”

VITAS provides 24/7/365 clinical support in important ways:

  • As needed, a VITAS clinician can respond in-person to triage, address and stabilize a symptomatic patient at home or in their preferred setting (nursing home, assisted living facility)–even those requiring high-acuity care. This around-the-clock availability helps avoid and reduce 911 calls, ED visits and rehospitalization.
  • 24/7 support improves your institution’s quality metrics while reducing lengths of stay and readmission rates.
  • VITAS’s secure mobile app makes hospice referrals even easier for on-the-go clinical hospital staff. Powered by a secure, mobile-first platform, VITAS typically responds to referral requests in under 15 minutes, regardless of day or time.

Source: Currow, D., Agar, M., & Phillips, J. (2020). Role of Hospice Care at the End of Life for People with Cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 38(9), 937-943. DOI: 10.1200/ JCO.18.02235

Is your patient ready for hospice?

Meet the VITAS Hospice Team

A VITAS physician

Physician

The physician closely monitors the progression of the patient’s illness, prescribes appropriate medications and coordinates care with other members of the team.
A VITAS hospice nurse

Hospice Nurse

The hospice nurse is skilled in assessing and managing pain and other symptoms. A nurse may also help with personal care.
A VITAS hospice aide

Hospice Aide

Hospice aides provide personal care to the patient. They are also the “eyes and ears” for the rest of the hospice team.
A VITAS social worker

Social Worker

The social worker acts as a friendly and skilled listener and provides emotional support.
A VITAS volunteer

Volunteer

The hospice volunteer can bring music or a Paw Pals animal companion, and spends quality time with the patient and family.
A VITAS chaplain

Chaplain

The chaplain ministers to the spiritual needs of patients and families of all faiths, and can work with their clergy.
A VITAS bereavement specialist

Bereavement Specialist

The bereavement specialist provides grief and loss support to the patient's loved ones.
The VITAS Care Team