Characteristics of Hospices Providing High-Quality Care


Background

The hospice market has changed substantially, shifting from predominately not-for-profit independent entities to for-profit national chains. Little is known about how hospice organizational characteristics are associated with quality of hospice care.

Objective

To examine the association between hospice characteristics and care processes and performance on measures of hospice care quality.

Design

Logistic regression models assessed the association between hospice characteristics and processes and hospices being in the top quartile of quality measure performance.

Setting/Subjects

U.S. hospices with publicly reported measure scores in 2015-2017.

Measurements

Summaries of hospice-level performance on Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Hospice Survey measures (including communication, timely care, symptom management, emotional and spiritual support, respect, training families, overall rating, and willingness to recommend) and Hospice Item Set (HIS) measures (including pain screening and assessment, dyspnea screening and treatment, bowel regimen for patients on opioids, discussion of treatment preferences, and beliefs/values addressed).

Results

Of the 2746 hospices that met public reporting requirements, 5.6% were in the top quartile of both CAHPS and HIS performance. Characteristics associated with being in the top quartile for CAHPS included being a nonprofit and nonchain or government hospice, smaller size (<200 patients per year), and serving a rural area. Characteristics associated with being in the top quartile for HIS included being in a for-profit chain, larger size (91+ patients per year), and having <40% of patients in a nursing home. Providing professional staff visits in the last two days of life to a higher proportion of patients was associated with hospices being in the top quartile of HIS and in the top quartile of CAHPS.

Conclusions

Hospice characteristics associated with strong performance on HIS measures differ from those associated with strong performance on CAHPS measures. Providing professional staff visits in the last two days of life is associated with high performance on both quality domains.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND’s publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.

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