New tool helps individuals make decisions about hospice care for loved ones
PUEBLO, Colo. - On Aug. 16, as part of its continuing commitment to greater data transparency, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) unveiled the Hospice Compare website. The new site displays information in a ready-to-use format and provides a snapshot of the quality of care hospice facilities across the United States offer to their patients.
When considering the composite average of the seven Hospice Item Set (HIS) measures reported in Hospice Compare and calculated for every hospice in the country, Sangre de Cristo Hospice, southern Colorado’s largest hospice and palliative care provider serving a 20,000 square mile area, ranks fourth out of 63 hospices in Colorado. The data also places Sangre de Cristo Hospice in the elite top 12 percent when compared to approximately 3,876 hospices nationwide.
By ensuring patients have the information they need to understand their options, the new website is helping individuals make informed health care decisions for themselves and their families based on objective measures of quality. For example, patients and caregivers can compare Sangre de Cristo Hospice & Palliative Care with other hospice providers in the region on quality of care metrics such as the percentage of patients that were screened for pain or difficult or uncomfortable breathing, or whether patients’ preferences are being met.
“Relevant, reliable and accessible information is essential for patients and caregivers when making informed choices about hospice and palliative care,” said Tarrah Lowry-Schreiner, president and CEO, Sangre de Cristo Hospice & Palliative Care. “Quality and patient safety are critical aspects of our strategic vision and when we share data, and allow ourselves to be compared to other hospice organizations, it helps our patients and our communities to more fully understand the extraordinary, high-quality care we provide and assist in the decision-making process.”
Hospice facilities offer specialized care and support to individuals with a terminal illness and a prognosis of six months or less if the illness runs its normal course. Once a patient elects hospice care, the focus shifts from curative treatment to palliative care for relief of pain and symptom management, and care is generally provided where the patient lives. Additionally, caregivers can get support through the hospice benefit, such as grief and loss counseling.
“The Hospice Compare website is an important tool for the American people and will help empower them in a time of vulnerability as they look for information necessary to make important decisions about hospice care for loved ones,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “The CMS Hospice Compare website is a reliable resource for family members and caregivers who are looking for facilities that will provide quality care.”
The Hospice Compare website will reflect current industry best practices for consumer-facing websites and will be optimized for mobile use. For more information, visit the new Hospice Compare site.
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About Sangre de Cristo Hospice & Palliative Care
At Sangre de Cristo Hospice & Palliative Care, we seek to enhance the quality of life and to maintain the integrity of individuals and their families in need of supportive or end-of-life services. Serving 20,000 square miles throughout southern Colorado, our approach to care is based on an interdisciplinary team of professionals and is focused on delivering the best possible outcomes for hospice patients and their families. To learn more, contact us at www.socohospice.org.