To say that the pandemic has changed the face of hospice care is an understatement. Like almost every field, hospice care has seen the impacts of extreme burnout and necessary heightened precautions. Among the most striking challenges in the hospice industry is the need to balance safety, both for the professionals and the patients, with the field’s emphasis on compassion and connections.
Fortunately, the hospice care field continues to find new ways to adapt thanks to the incredible teams who work to make it happen. Here are some of the ongoing trends in hospice care to watch in 2022.
Paving New Roads for Telehealth
Virtual visits are beneficial for patients in home hospice care. Telehealth visits allow patients and their caregivers to ask questions and solve problems with the help of real professionals without the stress of travel. Unlike simple phone calls, video calls have also allowed healthcare teams to visually monitor their patients during checkups and stay involved in their care.
2020 and 2021 truly put the usability of telehealth in hospice care to the test. Providing educational resources has played a key role in successful virtual visits.
Withstanding Labor Shortages
As with every industry, the hospice care field faces labor shortages. Burnout, family safety concerns, and costs continue to make it challenging to retain and hire staff. While each hospice facility can attempt to adapt to these challenges, they remain in the same boat as many other industries. Raising wages and offering improved compensation can only do so much against the looming reality of exhaustion that many healthcare professionals face.
However, the pandemic has also forced more people to examine their own personal wishes for end-of-life care. This shift in perspective can place more eyes on the hospice field and potentially incentivize people to join the hospice workforce.
A Changing Relationship With Dying
The pandemic has left many people to experience loss personally or question what they want for themselves late in life. Confronted with the realities of death, more patients are looking into hospice and engaging their families in conversations about their personal wishes. This changing relationship with end-of-life scenarios may alter hospice facilities’ conversations in 2022 as more informed patients enter the discussion.
Watching these ongoing trends in hospice care in 2022 allows professionals to better understand how other healthcare services are adapting as needed. Keeping an eye on the tools and techniques other teams use allows us to improve our own fields and find solutions to problems.
With hospice’s emphasis on accessibility, comfort, and compassion, we’ll likely continue to see new methods of connecting with patients in spite of the pandemic throughout the coming year.