These articles are intended to provide our professional healthcare partners and clinicians with useful information about hospice, end-of-life care, and related issues.
Clinicians caring for patients with advanced heart failure (HF) are encouraged to advocate for changes to improve the overall care of this growing population.
If a Stage D heart failure patient does not choose cardiac surgical options or is not a candidate for surgery, providers, patients and families can and should advance care to the next therapeutic level: hospice.
Many older adults with heart failure who enrolled in hospice experienced lived longer and didn't die in the hospital, according to a report published in JACC: Heart Failure.
Even in the final stages of life, good wound care can contribute to physical, psychological and emotional comfort. Read more from VITAS Healthcare, here.
Palliative care’s goal is to relieve suffering and enhance quality of life for a child and family facing a serious, life-altering diagnosis. Read more here.
How are mechanical ventilations categorized? Are they reporting mechanical ventilation as invasive (IVS), non-invasive (NIVS) or both? Read more here.
An older American falls every 17 seconds, making falls a leading cause of injury & the leading cause of injury-related death among people 65+. Read more here.
For patients with COPD who are hospitalized near the end of life, the utilization of life-sustaining procedures showed a significant interval increase from 2010 to 2014.
Patient-physician discussions of palliative care issues are crucial to ensuring that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) get care that reflects their wishes and values. Read more here.
If a terminal patient wishes to forgo food and water, is it ethical to honor their wishes? In this article we'll examine all aspects of ethical and medical issues surrounding nutritional support and hydration for patients near the end of life.
Deprescribing is the process of discontinuing drugs when the risks outweigh the benefits in terms of a patient's care goals. Learn more about deprescribing and how it can help your hospice patients at the end of life.
Palliative care & hospice services can be the win-win solution for many of these declining, chronically ill patients and their overutilization of healthcare.
Talking about options near the end of life while the patient still enjoys quality of life is a priceless gift from the healthcare professional to the patient and the family.
A heavy physical and psychological symptom burden is experienced by hospitalized patients with advanced cancer; are at risk of unplanned readmission. Read more here.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology has issued a consensus guideline for patient-clinician communication in cancer care, with a focus on consideration of end-of-life care.
Voluntary ACP, which is reimbursed by the CMS, enables certain clinicians to engage in conversations about preferences at the end of life with patients.
March is social work month. VITAS social workers are front-line healthcare professionals, serving as sounding boards & confidantes of their patients.
Among adults 65 years+ living in the community, homebound status is associated with greater risk of death, according to the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
The rate of hospice referrals for hospitalized patients with advanced dementia transferred from nursing homes increased over the past decade.
Cancer treatment, palliative & hospice care can and should go hand-in-hand, for the benefit of the patients, their families, and those who treat them.
The goal of hospice is to make life as good as it can for as long as it can. But we have to ask the right questions & listen very carefully for each patient.
Studies & surveys show the general public embraces advance directives at rates greater than HCP's. In one Kentucky ICU, only 13% of the HCP's have EOL plans.
Read how VITAS has services and resources to provide care for your patient at all 4 levels of hospice care.
The CARING tool helps identify patients with advanced disease, citing criteria to identify those likely to die within a year. Learn more from VITAS.
As restricting symptoms increase and the functional status of older adults as end of life declines, the likelihood of hospice referral rises, researchers found.
Patients with advanced HF who receive ongoing, palliative care in the outpatient setting following hospital discharge show greater improvement in quality of life.
Empathy is an important quality for any hospice provider, but compassion fatigue can often be a cost of caring. Here are VITAS' tips for self-care for healthcare professionals.
The transition of a patient from curative care to palliative or hospice care brings changes in treatment philosophy. One of those involves medications.
Advanced Disease Management (ADM) bridges the gap between curative care and hospice. Learn more about helping patients cope with serious illness fro VITAS.
Spiritual care is valuable at any time, but it’s particularly essential for hospice patients as they struggle with apprehensions about their own death.
Communication and collaboration are the keys to reducing patient rehospitalization. Learn more about the ways to reduce patient readmission with VITAS.
Care coordination has been at the foundation of hospice care since it was signed into law in 1982. Learn more about care coordination with VITAS.
CEO Nick Westfall shares insights on how VITAS can help healthcare organizations meet the Affordable Care Act's Triple Aim, by improving the patient experience, improving the health of populations and reducing the per-capita cost of health care.
Residents of the state of Oregon are more likely to have their end-of-life wishes honored than residents in the rest of the country. Learn more here.
VITAS® Healthcare has the expertise, the staff and the specialized services to keep your residents at home—out of emergency rooms, hospitals and nursing homes—as they approach the end of life.
Medical ethics often refers to four principles of healthcare ethics that should be considered when making a decision.
Because physicians in emergency departments frequently encounter patients with life-limiting illness, they have the opportunity to recommend care.
Patients with COPD are frequently under-supported, experiencing significant symptom burden, disability during the last few years of life. Learn more here.
VITAS has the resources to keep your high-risk, hospice-eligible ALD patient at home and comfortable during a crisis, and relieve the cost burden to the patient and their insurer.
ED staff: Is your frequent emergency room patient a good fit
for hospice care? Read and download our guidelines here to
find out if hospice care can help,
Spiritual and holistic therapies are being used by many hospices, including VITAS Healthcare, to complement the physical, emotional and spiritual care.
VITAS serves to keep your seriously ill patients safe and allows them to live and die at home. Here's what hospice teaches family caregivers about infection control.
As the attending physician for a patient you refer to hospice, you'll remain an integral part of the patient's care team. Learn how hospice can help.
A new study shows that families of oncology patients rate hospice as “excellent,” with highest ratings linked to longer lengths of stay. Read more at VITAS.com.
Read about how hospice benefits patients with factors like lowery hospitalization rates and reduced medical costs.
Sometimes, hospice gives patients more time. Always, hospice makes the most of the time the patient has. Quality of life is a gift you can give.
The VA reports half of the men who die today are military veterans, there are a lot of veterans who would benefit from hospice services. Learn more here.
Care plan oversight is a service for which certain clinicians can bill Medicare in the absence of a face-to-face patient encounter. Learn more here.
Stress is a very natural response to living and working so close to dying and death. An honest assessment of your stress levels can help.
Read the ten hospice questions palliative care doctors should ask provided by VITAS Healthcare, the nations leading provider in end-of-life care.
The goal of VITAS Healthcare is to optimize symptom management; we prescribe antipsychotic treatment only when clinically sustained. Learn more here.
By treating referral for hospice care as a quality measure, an Ohio healthcare system has seen the doubling of the hospice LOS among cancer patients.
A simple prognostic model based on performance status has predictive ability that is similar to more complex models in patients with advanced cancer.
Medical professionals need to be responsible for their own care. An honest assessment of your ability to cope with loss can help determine the right next steps for you.
Patients newly enrolled in hospice close to hospital discharge were found to be at low risk for rehospitalization within 30 days. Read here to learn more.
Approximately 25% of patients hospitalized for decompensated heart failure (HF) are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, making HF the leading cause for 30-day all-cause readmissions in the U.S.
For caregivers dealing with loved ones with end-stage terminal illness, hospice services provide physical and emotional support for patients, caregivers and loved ones.
Because the role of hospice is to ensure in-home support and the most appropriate care possible for patients and families coping with terminal illness, collaboration between hospice and EMS benefits everyone.
The widespread use of NBTs has repercussions that affect the sustainability of health services and perpetuate unrealistic expectations of survival, note the authors.
More than two-thirds of patients with advanced cancer had survival expectations that did not match the estimates of their oncologists, with most patients being more optimistic.
When we work as your partner, VITAS leverages our technology, staff and experience to transition your sickest patients from hospital to wherever they call home. Then we provide the support necessary to improve quality of life, manage symptoms and prevent readmissions.
Death is a process, not an event. Appropriate care requires ongoing recognition, assessment and response. Hospice can add to a nursing home resident’s end-of-life goals and to its staff’s end-of-life expertise.
U.S. regions with the highest rates of intensive care for terminally ill patients in the last six months of life also have the highest rate of very short hospice enrollments.
While patients, their family members and healthcare professionals (HCPs) all identify the same three themes of a good death as most important, for some other elements of “successful dying,” the perspectives of these groups tend to diverge.
Hospice, with expanded alternatives such as inpatient units or continuous home care for transitioning end-of-life patients, may better serve your ED while allowing patients and families to regard your facility as efficient and more responsive to their needs.
In a first-of-its-kind study, older patients from several major U.S. ethnic minority groups identified barriers to the kind of care they would prefer at life’s end.
The Medicare hospice benefit belongs to the patient, who voluntarily signs up for hospice with the understanding that he will receive palliative care in lieu of curative care for his terminal illness. The patient must revoke the benefit if he decides to receive curative care.
Studies in recent years reveal an increasing trend in the U.S. toward shorter hospice stays and greater intensity of care in the last months of life.
Family members were more likely to rate their loved ones’ end-of-life care as “excellent” when patients were enrolled in hospice for longer than three days, died outside of the hospital and were not admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) within the final month of life.
With the aging of the American
population and continuing technological
advances in life-sustaining interventions,
many patients will be incapacitated
when complex end-of-life treatment
decisions are called for.
The word 'hospice' is surrounded by mystery and misconception. In reality, it is a natural, gentle, compassionate intervention for a vulnerable population, says Dr. Eric Shaban, VITAS Regional Medical Director.
By identifying appropriate patients early in the emergency department cycle and promptly referring them to palliative care or hospice, we offer them better lives.
A report shows that residents in nursing homes with higher rates of hospice penetration have a reduced risk of being hospitalized in the last 30 days of life.
Patients with an accurate understanding of chemotherapy are more likely to enroll in hospice, according to a report.
Uncertainties with heart failure pose an obstacle to ensuring quality end-of-life care for end-stage patients, according to a paper published in the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology.
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