burnout has long been a challenge for hospice providers, as care delivery in
the home comes with certain expectations and requirements not typical of other
that hospice nurse burnout in particular is
tied to large caseloads; around-the-clock care and the unexpected nature of
hospice hours; and regularly witnessing grief and loss. In many ways, the COVID-19 crisis that began in early 2020 made
in-home hospice care even
more challenging for nurses and other care
providers who are asked to do more with less in a highly uncertain care environment.
as hospices begin to adopt technology more rapidly due to the pandemic, they
are also starting to use it specifically to address the causes of nurse burnout.
has been a critical element in managing patient care over the last several
months, and many organizations are seeking platforms that can help them solve
the nurse burnout issue,” says Rob Stoltz, VP of business development for Citus
Health, a provider of care collaboration technology for in-home care
are three ways in which technology is working to assist organizations toward
this effort, Stoltz says.
1: Optimizing IDG coordination
arrangement that has been linked to preventing nurse burnout is a structured
interdisciplinary (or multidisciplinary) group (IDG) that shares responsibility
for hospice patient care.
teams are often protective against burnout because staff can support one
another through challenging cases and divide up the workload,” Timothy
E. Quill MD, professor of Medicine, Psychiatry, Medical Humanities and Nursing
at the University of Rochester School of Medicine recently told Hospice News. “Many hospice programs have
people within the team that others can confide in. Creating a high-functioning
multidisciplinary team is a sophisticated process, but this is the ideal
hospices should strive for if they want to sustain their workforce.”
thinking hospices are embracing technology to improve coordination within the
IDG and alleviate the stress driven by growing caseloads, and they are expanding
beyond the IDG to incorporate outside partners like durable medical equipment
providers as well.
Health, for example, has IDG patient discussion groups that streamline IDG
communications and can prevent individual caregiver stress.
latest tech can enable immediate actions resulting from the patient discussion
group,” Stoltz says. “For example, based on an event or need, an instant video
chat can be established to include external partners and even family caregivers
to address an urgent issue. This can mean more streamlined flow and fewer phone
calls to deliver a bed, for example.”
A single hub that
enables a seamless information flow within the IDG can reduce frustration and
can lead to a better experience for the patient, family, and importantly, the
2: Improving work-life balance
24/7 nature of hospice care can be a direct cause of nurse burnout, as patient
needs may arise at any hour of any day.
of the ways technology can assist is by providing a platform where all
patient-related communication takes place, thus giving all care team members
and family real-time information. Technology can leverage the power of the interdisciplinary
group to address inbound communications through instant messaging and
auto-escalation protocols, meaning the hospice provider can route a message directly
to the right person rather than the off-duty nurse having to operate as the
single point of contact.
“Family caregiver communication
technology can ease the burden and pressure on the nurse, who would otherwise
be the single point person,” Stoltz says. “We like to talk
about enabling nurses to not have to give their mobile number because with the
Citus Health messaging platform, secure inbound messages can be routed to any
one or all of the IDG members as specified by the hospice organization. With
our auto-escalation feature, the communication is instantaneous so family
members in need of a response are taken care of more quickly.”
Streamlining family communications
hospice nurse, typically the point person when it comes to family
communication, can be overwhelmed dealing with multiple family members, many of
whom may be remote. These family members
may differ in their opinions about their loved ones’ care, in the questions
they have and in what they hear from the nurse — which can create confusion within
the family. And, family members may also be communicating with various members
of the IDG. Through no fault of the nurse, these factors can result in family
members becoming frustrated, leading to even more phone calls.
technology can streamline the communication with family members through instant
messaging and video chats able to include the entire family. Through these
platforms, nurses and other IDG team members can provide real time updates to
family members on their loved ones all in one communication. This means more
family members feel included without nurses and IDG members having to contact
them individually, leading to less confusion and a smoother process.
provide the ability for our customers to communicate with the entire family at
once through secure instant messaging or family video chats,” says Stoltz. “Hospice
nurses often spend significant time performing this communication after hours, so
this streamlined and consistent approach benefits them by allowing them to engage
all of the parties through one action. And through our instant messaging, the
IDG can see what has been communicated with families so that everyone is on the
same page, so it makes life easier for the IDG, too.”
tools that make clinicians’ jobs easier can help reduce burnout and subsequent
turnover. A care coordination platform can save precious time so nurses can
focus on what matters most — the patient. And, when the care coordination
platform easily integrates into the organization’s EHR, as the Citus Health
platform does, it means any data captured on the platform can be automatically
added to the patient record.
the focus is on care coordination and efficiency as care organizations are
asked to do more with less,” Stoltz says. “Technology can be the critical
component to ensure the care team is communicating and coordinating to achieve
the best outcomes for the patient, while preventing burnout.”
This article is sponsored by Citus Health. To learn more about how Citus Health can help your organization improve communication and collaboration to reduce nurse burnout, visit CitusHealth.com.