Last week I came across an article a New York Times article titled “Assisted Living vs. Hospice: Who’s in Charge?” .
The article opens with the story of a man whose parents were in a San Diego assisted living community with the husband on hospice, because of end stage congestive heart failure.
Last week I came across an article a New York Times article titled “Assisted Living vs. Hospice: Who’s in Charge?” . The article opens with the story of a man whose parents were in a San Diego assisted living community with the husband on hospice, because of end stage congestive heart failure.
As the story goes, in the middle of the night the husband wasn’t doing well and the wife responded by calling the hospice who in turn called the assisted living community. After an hour, the wife called hospice again to ask why no one had come, with the hospice worker replying that she didn’t know. The story ends with the son “forcing” the hospice team and the assisted living team to sit together and figure out how to appropriately care for his parents through the last few weeks of his father’s life.
More to the Story
After reading the story a second time, I found myself thinking there must be more to the story. Here are a few of my questions:
- After waiting that long why did the wife not use the emergency call system provided by the assisted living community?
- Why did the hospice worker not follow-up to make sure someone had responded?
- Did the phone call ever really get made?
- Why was there no advance coordination between the assisted living community and the hospice?
Ultimately I am not crazy about this story and the subsequent comments because, the hospice workers who were interviewed for the story, in effect, threw assisted living under the bus as a legitimate venue for providing residents hospice care to the end of life. This does a huge disservice to assisted living communities, the assisted living industry and assisted living residents who in truth receive better, more comfortable, more compassionate care in the last few weeks of life than they would have received in a skilled nursing facility and in many cases at home.
Some Legitimate Questions
That being said, this short article is a long way of asking these questions:
- In your senior communities, given the higher medical needs that require outside resources how do you manage the coordination of all these care resources with your community staff?
- What do you do to eliminate or reduce the possibility of these kinds of breakdowns in communication at night?
Steve Moran If you like this story it would be a great honor to me if you would subscribe to our email list. If you are already subscribed I would appreciate it if you would share this story with someone else in the industry via, e-mail, Twitter or LinkedIn using the share buttons below.
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Finally: If you know anyone who is looking at emergency call systems I would appreciate the opportunity to talk with them about Vigil Health Solutions.