In our third Industry Spotlight, we want to highlight on hospice. Two professions which are most symbiotic are hospice nursing and funeral homes. Hospice care focuses on the palliation of a terminally ill patient’s pain and symptoms and attending to their emotional and spiritual needs at the end of life. Hospice care prioritizes comfort and quality of life by reducing pain and suffering. Funeral directing focuses upon the emotional trauma of the survivors, who are now living without the deceased friend or family member. The funeral is the first step to deal with the rational biological needs as well as the spiritual support the survivors need.
According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) in 2017,
- 49 million Medicare beneficiaries, a 4.5 percent increase from the prior year, were enrolled in hospice care for one day or more in 2017.
- 2 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who died in 2017 were enrolled in hospice at the time of death.
- 5 percent of patients received care for 14 days or less, while those receiving care for more than 180 days accounted for 14.1 percent.
- At 98.2 percent, Routine Home Care accounts for the vast majority of days of care.
- $18.99 billion was spent on hospice care by Medicare in 2017, representing an increase of 6.3 percent.
- Since 2014, beneficiaries identified as Asian and Hispanic increased by 32 percent and 21 percent respectively.
So, why are these two professions, of trained care givers, not more interwoven? From the funeral homes perspective Hospice nurse and administrators are focused on price when making a referral to a family of a funeral home. This might be true, if you have done nothing to align yourself with the Hospice’s in your area.
Just bringing cookies to the hospice office is often a waste of time for funeral homes looking to have a good relationship with local hospices. The nurse and case workers are the people the families are interfacing. By the time these front liners get back to their offices, those cookies are long eaten.
It has been documented that in 2018 more than half of all deaths were supported by hospice. Therefore, doesn’t it make sense to create a game plan to meet and demonstrate the difference of your funeral business rather than your competitor? The difference can be by relationship or by education. Hospice nurses and administrators have continuing education needs. Why not sponsor this? Why not provide some education on how to choose a funeral home? One well respected Pennsylvania funeral home even takes these nurses on trips for con-ed. Of course, Covid is going to curtail some of these opportunities, but it will curtail the actions not the intentions.
The Book of the Prophet Isaiah focuses on the palliation of a terminally ill patient’s pain and symptoms and attending to their emotional and spiritual needs at the end of life. Hospice care prioritizes comfort and quality of life by reducing pain and suffering.