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

Hospice Services ‘Must Exceed Available Community Resources’

A 2020 Australian study finds that hospice care provides clear benefits to patients with cancer as they approach the end of life, including enhanced quality of life for patients and their families, improved symptom control, and more time away from inpatient care.

Hospice services, they point out, must “exceed available community resources” in order to keep patients in their preferred care settings and to support caregivers. Services such as 24/7/365 availability for symptom management and ongoing caregiver education, according to the study’s findings, are “more likely to be clinically appropriate with fewer hospital visits, shorter lengths of stay, and less time in intensive care units if hospice is engaged.”

Caregivers also report lower rates of depression and improved ability “to move on with life after the patient’s death” if they have benefitted from ongoing support from an interdisciplinary hospice team.

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

VITAS provides 24/7/365 clinical support in two distinct ways:

  • Telecare provides caregivers and healthcare providers 24/7/365 access to VITAS clinicians who can triage and manage symptoms over the phone or dispatch a clinician to the bedside, if necessary, to resolve crises
  • Intensive Comfort Care® involves continuous care provided by nurses or aides at the bedside for up to 24 hours per Medicare guidelines to manage severe symptoms and pain.

Source: Currow, D., Agar, M., & Philllips, 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