This article is sponsored by CitusHealth. In this Voices interview, Hospice News sits down with Melissa Kozak, Founder and Head of CitusHealth, to talk about the most common deficiencies found in hospice plans of care, and how Citus is helping providers to address them. She also discusses the impact of education and training in the evolution of hospice care, and the subsequent correlation between increased staff efficiency and improved compliance.
Hospice News: What are the most common deficiencies found in hospice plans of care?
Melissa Kozak: After identifying frequent shortcomings in care plan adherence by examining survey data on interdisciplinary team care planning and coordination of services, CMS is prioritizing compliance with hospice care plans, making it a focus of new surveyor training requirements. The most common deficiencies are non-personalized care plans, missed direct-care visits, substandard visit documentation, incomplete care plans, and a lack of updates to care plans. In turn, hospice providers should focus on staying ahead of care plan requirements and recognizing areas for improvement.
How does IDT communication play a role in improving care plans?
Care coordination is essential to hospice care plans, as they require the interdisciplinary team (IDT) to collaborate on creating, regularly updating, and maintaining a plan of care (POC) that addresses the patient and family’s needs and goals, including bereavement support after the patient’s passing. To meet the comprehensive needs of patients and families, IDGs utilize integrated communication tools like a Patient Discussion Group (PDG) — a dedicated chat space for discussing a patient’s care — allowing for real-time updates and collaboration among nurses, physicians and other team members. This not only meets CMS and payor requirements, but also saves time compared to traditional phone or email communication.
How important is education and training for family caregivers?
CMS mandates that patient and family caregivers receive education and training corresponding to the care and services outlined in the POC, which is critical for comfort during tough times and impacts Hospice CAHPS satisfaction scores. While many hospice providers distribute printed materials, issues like outdated content and misplacement can arise, putting an even greater emphasis on the importance of digital resources. It provides caregivers with round-the-clock access to information from any device, ensures compliance with current rules through instant updates, and assists in decision-making in the absence of a nurse with situations like pain management and comfort pack guidelines. Digital resources also encompass support group details for bereavement and specific health conditions, which help maintain strict adherence to the POC.
How can increasing the efficiency of your clinical and non-clinical staff help improve compliance?
With 22% of nurses planning to exit their positions this year, and a projected shortfall of 3.2 million health care workers by 2026, staffing challenges are escalating, pushing even clinical leaders into direct care roles — a trend that may lead to less oversight of charting and audits. To alleviate the administrative load on clinical staff and help non-clinical staff work more efficiently, hospice providers can automate common manual tasks, such as the cumbersome process of collecting caregiver signatures on paper, returning documents for scanning into the Electronic Health Record (EHR), and attaching them to patient records. As such, the need for a more efficient, automated solution is key in today’s hospice landscape.
For hospices that want to improve their communication, education, and overall POC compliance, how can they get started with technology?
Interoperability, training and comprehensive support from a software provider are paramount to success in the current hospice environment. These elements have become an expected standard for care providers as the expense and inefficiency of non-interoperable systems — like duplicate workflows, increased admin tasks and reduced visibility — are costly from both a financial and care delivery perspective. Point solutions for remote care often complicate interoperability and increase IT workload to consolidate data, undermining the holistic patient health perspective essential to home care, making it vital to opt for integrated end-to-end solutions.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
The Voices Series is a sponsored content program featuring leading executives discussing trends, topics and more shaping their industry in a question-and-answer format. For more information on Voices, please contact [email protected].