It's the little things..

What makes a hospice organization great? The amount of money it makes? The fancy, expensive website? The size of the hospice? The elaborate mission statement? 

What makes your hospice great? 

In our experience of working with hospices for over 50 years collectively, we have found that a great hospice is one that does the little things. Sure, every hospice highlights their quality of care. And they are right in doing so because it’s by far the most important quality of a truly great hospice. 


How does a hospice provide quality care?

By doing the little things.

What exactly are these little things?

The little things are all the easy things we should be doing as care providers but often times fail to do because we end up getting into a routine and ultimately just go through the motions. Let’s review two recent phone calls to Always Green Hospice and examine how the hospice answered the phone.


Scenario 1

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“Always Green Hospice.” (Spoken hastily)


Scenario 2

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“Always Green Hospice, this is Darla!” (Spoken without urgency)


Something as small as taking the time to welcome every caller with full attention and respect separates the good hospices from the great ones. Executing on the little things in our hospice is something we can implement fairly quickly. And we can guarantee our quality of care improves by doing all of these little things!




Take a second and imagine being a nurse in the field and walking up to the front door of the home of one of your patients. You open the door and walk inside to find your patient's family is sitting in a circle around your patient. Before you even start talking to the family you should be smiling at them. This sets the tone that everything is going to be okay. When you are in the field, you are the face of the hospice organization. The face of the hospice organization needs to smile. This isn't a complicated addition to our care repertoire, however, it will make a HUGE impact on how the patient and the family perceives the standard of care they are receiving.


Ask a question!

Take a second to ask, “How are you?" And mean it. We have talked about the power of our questions in a previous post and we can't emphasize this point enough. We must look our patients in the eye, ask them how they are, and really listen to what they say. We must also look the patient's family in the eye, ask them how they are, and really listen to what they say. We can't get too caught up in our job that we forget to be a human being. We have to actually care to provide quality care.


Ask for feedback!

How likely are we to tell someone they have a piece of spinach in their teeth?

How likely are we to tell someone they have a piece of spinach in their teeth after they ask us if they have anything in their teeth?

The specific numbers here vary depending on the person, but the fact is that we are a LOT more likely to tell someone AFTER they ask.  The same logic applies to our hospice organization. One of the families could have great advice for us on how to help make their loved one more comfortable, but are hesitant to give unsolicited advice (as most people are).

We have to ask for feedback from our patients and their families and use what they tell us to improve our quality of care.


The takeaway

We must do the little things. In the big scheme of things, the little things are the only things that matter as it pertains to the quality of care that your hospice provides. All over the world, hospices are using the same drugs, the same medical equipment, and the same formula of care to comfort their patients. If we want our hospice to be great, we must do the little things.

The funny thing is, because the little things are so easy to do, they are often overlooked and sometimes completely forgotten. 


- Jordan Evans, PDCRx