Hospice is a hands-on discipline. Patients and their loved ones, who often serve as caregivers, tend to choose providers by their reputation for comprehensive and accessible comfort-focused care rather than their ability to showcase the leading edge of medical tech.
After all, these patients are dying, and technological advancements like robot-assisted laser surgery, cardiac defibrillators, and same-day diagnostics won’t meaningfully alter their disease progression. Why would techy buzzwords sway their choice when they’re primarily seeking hands-on, personalized care that offers comfort, quality of life, and dignity near the end of life?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has taken center stage as providers—hospice included—are relying on telehealth to deliver certain types of care without the infection risk of face-to-face interaction. Hospice providers are embracing the power of technological innovation to facilitate and enhance caring patient-clinician interactions and healthcare activities, ranging from ordinary conversation to immersive virtual reality.
Videoconferences now support goals-of-care conversations and advance care planning sessions that occur prior to hospice referral. Hospice representatives are reducing gaps in care by connecting virtually with patients and clinicians to support earlier identification of hospice-eligible patients.
Technology spans hospice eligibility to bereavement
Admissions nurses use telehealth to conduct a head-to-toe examination and determine eligibility at any hour with minimal disruption, while virtual tours help clinicians familiarize themselves with a patient’s living space and decide what durable medical equipment should be delivered.
During emergencies and natural disasters, remote care overcomes barriers to access, such as flooded roads or damaged infrastructure. Distant family members rely on broadened access to telehealth to involve themselves in care decisions. After a patient dies, virtual bereavement care supports their loved ones anywhere in the world.
Leading healthcare providers promote a culture of continuous improvement, and rapid adoption of telehealth contributes to that culture.