Becoming a five-star hospice organization requires a commitment to providing the highest quality care to patients and their families. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rates hospice organizations on a five-star scale, with five stars indicating the highest level of quality. Here are the steps that hospice organizations can take to achieve a five-star rating:

  • Patient-Centred Care: The foundation of any high-quality hospice organization is patient-centred care. This means putting the needs and preferences of patients and their families at the forefront of all decision-making. Hospice organizations should involve patients and families in the care planning process and ensure that the care provided is tailored to their individual needs.
  • Comprehensive Care Plan: Developing a comprehensive care plan that addresses the physical, emotional and spiritual needs is critical. The care plan should include goals for symptom management, pain control, emotional support, and spiritual care. It should also outline the roles and responsibilities of the hospice care team and the patient’s family.
  • Staff Training: Providing high-quality hospice care requires a skilled and dedicated team. Therefore, hospice organizations should invest in ongoing staff training to ensure that their employees are equipped to provide the best possible care. This includes training on the latest techniques for symptom management, pain control and emotional support, as well as training on end-of-life care and the unique needs of patients with different diagnoses.
  • Communication Culture: Good communication is essential. Hospice organizations should encourage open and honest communication between patients, families and home healthcare providers. This includes regularly assessing patients’ needs and preferences and providing regular updates on their condition and progress. Hospice organizations should also ensure that patients and families are provided with clear and accurate information about their care.
  • Quality Improvement: By regularly assessing the care your home healthcare providers provide, you must identify the areas for improvement, like tracking patient outcomes and evaluating the effectiveness of care plans. In addition, hospice organizations can identify trends and patterns that can inform future decisions.
  • Patient and Family Involvement: Organizations should take an active role in patient care by providing their families with education and support. This includes explaining the hospice care process and answering any questions they may have. Hospice organizations should also encourage patients and families to provide feedback on the care they receive, which can be used to improve future care.
  • Communication with the Patient’s Physician: Hospice care is often provided in coordination with a patient’s primary physician; hence the organizations should maintain open communication with these physicians to ensure that the care provided is in line with the patient’s overall treatment plan. This includes sharing information about the patient’s condition and progress, as well as any changes to the care plan.
  • Emotional and Spiritual Support: Connect patients to social workers, chaplains and other care team members who can provide emotional and spiritual support.
  • Community Engagement: Build relationships with local organizations and resources, such as partnering with community organizations to educate and support patients.
  • Implement Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement (QAPI) program: Hospice organizations should implement a robust QAPI program that focuses on continuous quality improvement. This includes regularly monitoring and evaluating the care provided, identifying areas for improvement and implementing changes to improve the overall quality of care. The QAPI program should also include regular internal and external audits to ensure compliance with regulations and accreditation standards.
  • Discharge Planning Process: Hospice care is not limited to the end-of-life period, and hospice organizations should develop a comprehensive discharge planning process that addresses the needs of patients and families. This includes assessing the patient’s condition and needs, identifying appropriate post-hospice care options and providing support to patients and families during the transition to a new care setting.
  • Invest in Technology: Hospice organizations should invest in technology to improve the care provided and make it more efficient. This includes using electronic health records (EHR) systems to manage patient information, telehealth technology to offer virtual consultations and remote monitoring devices to track patients’ vital signs and other health data. By investing in technology, hospice organizations can provide better care while reducing costs and increasing efficiency.
  • Accountability and Transparency: Hospice organizations should foster a culture of accountability and transparency by regularly reporting on the care provided and being open and honest about any challenges or issues that may arise. This includes sharing data on patient outcomes, staff performance and the effectiveness of care plans. Hospice organizations should also be transparent about any errors or adverse events that may occur and take steps to prevent them from happening in the future.
  • Bereavement Support: Hospice care is not limited to the patient and should provide bereavement support to patients’ families after the patient’s death. This includes providing emotional support, counselling and grief resources. Hospice organizations should also provide follow-up care for families and offer support groups to help them cope with the loss of their loved ones.

Your agency should be committed to providing the highest quality of care by covering all the bases to become a Five-star hospice organization.