A terminal diagnosis does not have to put an end to a patient's plans. In fact, a comprehensive approach to hospice care makes it a priority to help patients achieve practical tasks and goals during end of life.
Noting, tracking and monitoring these goals within a hospice management solution helps caregivers and patients alike to follow through on those goals which are still practical and possible.
Addressing patient goals
Hospice patients nearing end of life have a number of practical goals that they would like to achieve in the time remaining to them. As noted by the National Institute on Aging, four factors influence a patient's comfort at the end of life: physical comfort, mental and emotional needs, spiritual issues and practical tasks.
A comprehensive approach to hospice care addresses each of these areas of concern in a holistic manner because each is intertwined with the others. For instance, a hospice patient who is able to complete important practical tasks may feel better emotionally as a result.
Consider this scenario: A hospice patient worries what will become of her pet cat when she is no longer able to provide for the animal. Therefore, the patient wants to ensure there is a plan in place for her beloved pet. Caregivers and family members can work with the patient to provide for the animal in the future, thus putting the family member's mind at ease.
Hospice patients may also have goals concerning events in which they want to participate. Examples could include seeing a grandchild's dance recital or visiting with a old friend. These goals may require special assistance or coordination among caregivers. Having a systematic method of tracking goal progress can make it easier to accomplish these important end-of-life goals.
Setting family and caregiver goals
Family members and caregivers may also have their own goals regarding their loved one's end-of-life plans. In addition to wanting to spend more time with their family member, caregivers may feel the stress of their responsibilities becoming overwhelming. As noted by the Mayo Clinic, caregiver roles shift over time, which can increase stress levels.
It's important to develop related goals that allow caregivers to accomplish their own ambitions. However, caregivers may hesitate to put their own needs first. The National Cancer Association suggested that caregivers learn to recognize when they're feeling overwhelmed and have resources prepared for when they need an extra hand.
Again, a systematic approach to goal setting and tracking will not only help everyone stay on the same page regarding patient care, but also ensure caregivers stay on track with their personal objectives.
Tracking goals to create new opportunities
A robust hospice management solution allows providers, caregivers and patients to establish goals, track progress and measure success. Because patient mobility changes over the course of hospice care, goals may need to be modified over time. A tracking solution makes sure everyone is always up to date with patient and caregiver goals so that all parties can work together to bring about a desired outcome.
When this functionality is built into the broader EHR platform, it's easier for providers and caregivers to align patient goals with their current treatment plans. As with other important activities, interoperability is key. Connecting solutions into a holistic system ensures nothing slips through the cracks.
To learn more about patient goal tracking and discover the other beneficial features of our award-winning hospice management solution, schedule a conversation with one of our expert consultants today.