EMS and Hospice Partnerships
A frequent error made in hospice care is when the hospice patient ends up in the emergency department- which is the exact opposite goal of hospice. The goal is to leave patients at home and let them rest comfortably. Often, a patient will start to deteriorate and the family will call 911, or a hospice representative isn’t available and an ambulance is sent. Thanks to forward thinking partnerships this paradigm is no longer always the case.
Take MedStar Mobile Health, in Fort Worth, for example. They worked together with the local hospice provider to have a specially training community paramedic respond in lieu of, or in conjunction with an ambulance. The goal of that paramedic is to keep the patient home and continue the implementation of the patients care plan. Because medStar is the local 911 provider, should a patient or their family ever call 911 the dispatcher will know automatically if they are a hospice patient once their address is given.
Northwell Health, based in New York, is also working with a local hospice provider. Should their not be any hospice representatives available or if it is after hours a hospice trained community paramedic is sent instead. The goal of this program is identical to that of MedStar’s.
In summary, EMS organizations are making significant strides in improving hospice care by making strategic partnerships.