The Benefits of Early Referral of Patients into a Hospice Program

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Introduction Evidence based practice is the basis for needed change in practice and function. It is a sound method for scientific, fact-based change. Changes which have no evidence to support them are fragile, unscientific, and subjective. These changes don’t effect real change over time, as they aren’t able to be proven to a more general population. The change which is outlined in this paper relates to how early referral of terminally ill patients into a hospice program results in better patient outcomes, in particular, with regard to pain management. PICO format question will be used , along with a supportive body of evidence regarding the fact that early onset into a hospice program is helpful with providing end of life pain control. Hospice programs available, and options associated with them will be discussed as well as common concerns associated with early admission to hospice. The methods used for payment of hospice, and how one qualifies for entrance into a hospice program will be explored. A literature search will be performed and its results detailed within the body of this paper. Recent publications on the subject matter and associated issues such as moral and ethical questions as well as the change question will be discussed. Planning, implementing and evaluation of the change proposed will be explored within this paper. Identification of the Problem End of life pain management is an important function of hospice organizations. Families and patients alike are comforted by the fact that, at the end, there are resources which allow for a comfortable death. Much of the quality of hospice care is determined by patient family members. In 2005, the Brown Medical school conducted research with regard to t... ... middle of paper ... ...nce that is necessary to provide primary care providers the tools necessary to provide care. Early hospice admission is statistically proven to be more effective in preventing pain at end of life. It is cost effective to do so and has been discussed within the confines of this project. A literature search using CINAHL proved that in different venues the fact that earlier admission does result in pain management was proven. Support of our patients, our colleagues and of our own practice through evidence based practice techniques and scientific fact can be the most comforting evidence in this particular change proposal as it supports the PICO question, “In terminally ill patients, does early admission into a hospice program, versus those who are admitted later, result in more effective pain control at the end of life?” The answer, based in evidence is yes.

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