Toolkit for Transitioning from Hospital to Hospice
By Bruce Dalglish of Philadelphia
Helping a patient transition from the hospital to hospice requires detailed coordination between various people and organizations including hospital staff, the patient’s physician, the patient, and family.
To help reduce stress and any fears that the patient and/or family may be feeling, here’s a quick toolkit to equip you with the knowledge to help facilitate a smooth and comforting transition from hospital to hospice.
- Make sure the attending physician has conducted conversations with all relevant medical staff, and has completed required paperwork including: confirming the patient’s diagnosis and prognosis; reviewing all current medications, treatments and interventions and determining if any should be discontinued; and creating a plan based upon anticipated symptoms, problems and future needs.
- Have a coordinated plan for the coming days and weeks provided by your medical team to avoid potential delays or miscommunication with hospice staff. The plan may include how to treat anticipated symptoms and problems that are likely to occur, depending on the patient and the prognosis; and provide instructions about whether current medications and interventions are likely to meet future needs or if additional medications and interventions will need to be made available.
- Communicate extensively with your hospice care team about anticipated emotional, spiritual and medical needs of the patient, caregiver(s) and family.
- Coordinate preparations for a smooth discharge from the hospital to hospice care. The hospital point person may be a discharge planner, palliative care nurse, physician, or social worker. Try to have the appropriate hospice care representative meet with the patient and family/caregiver in the hospital before discharge to review important matters and needs. Also, make sure to be equipped with important information readily available such as: the patient’s contact information, birthdate, medical insurance information, name of terminal diagnosis, contact information to a physician/medical team, overall goals for care and needs for the patient and the patient’s caregiver(s), instructions concerning relevant medical equipment needs, and the expected hospital discharge date.
This toolkit is a quick snapshot intended to assist with planning, but does not address all details as each individual case must be customized. Thoughtful planning helps reduce stress, and ultimately allows family and caregivers to focus more personal attention on their loved one.
If you would like to consult with an Alliance Hospice expert, our staff is always available to help.
About the Author
A resident of Philadelphia, Bruce Dalglish has served as the Chairman and CEO of Alliance Hospice and All Caring Hospice since 2005. In this role, Bruce Dalglish oversees the development and strategic direction of both companies. From 2008 – 2013, Bruce Dalglish served on the Public Policy Committee of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO).
Disclaimer: Alliance Hospice blogs provide education information, not medical advice. Please consult with your medical providers when making end-of-life care decisions.