hospice home page logo







Great Ideas...Special Programs
  • Pet-Assisted Therapy Program
    Delta Society Certified Pet Partners attend hospice training, then are invited to attend staff and team meetings and teen training programs. They also visit home patients and nursing home patients. They network and market for hospice at health fairs and conferences and do speaking engagements for our hospice. For staff support and morale frequent visits to our office are helpful. Pets wear hospice vests and volunteer name badges. Hospice of the Comforter, Altamonte Springs, Florida

  • Holiday Pictures
    A disposable camera is given to patients and families from Thanksgiving to New Years for the purpose of allowing families to take pictures with family around the holidays. The cameras are picked up and double prints are made (with permission). One set of prints go back to the family and the other set stays with the hospice to share or use in publicity or heartwarming stories in newsletters. The cameras and developing are underwritten by companies. Hospice of Huntington, Huntington, West Virginia

  • No-Cost Crisis Counseling
    Our hospice board has contracted for anonymous crisis counseling to be available for hospice employees at no cost. Benton Hospice Service, Corvallis, Oregon
  • Food Bank–Satellite
    We work with the local food bank as a satellite for our patients. We don't want our patients and families to choose between food and other basic necessities. Klamath Hospice, Klamath Falls, Oregon
  • Care Plus
    A special program for patients who live alone or who have a compromised, frail, or disabled caregiver that provides them with "lockboxes" donated by local businesses to provide hospice staff access to the home and provides the patients with needed security. Also part of the program are emergency response systems for patients and a different level of caregiver added to the traditional hospice interdisciplinary team the latter are called Independent Living Assistants or ILAs, who perform light housekeeping and assistance with other activities of daily living. The program is grant funded. This program also makes use of hospice volunteers. Hospice of Northern Virginia, Falls Church, Virginia

Return to Great Ideas

  • Weekend 48-Hour On Call Rotation
    Regular staff does on-call from 8a.m. Saturday until 8a.m. Monday and then staff has the day off the following week. They are paid for the 40-hour work week, but are not paid 48 hours on-call. We have 7 nurses doing the rotation. This adds about 7 weeks more vacation to the nurses. A float nurse covers the patients of the nurse who is off to maintain continuity of care. Hospice of the Upstate, Anderson, South Carolina

  • Teddy Bears
    (Here is a wonderful innovation that is not exactly a "special program" but that is certainly special and that is a great addition to this hospice program D.G.L.) Our hospice team has a volunteer who makes small calico print teddy bears for us to give to each hospice patient. We try to give them as birthday or as "special occasion" gifts if one of those can be celebrated shortly after a patient is accepted into our program, but we do try to see that each patient gets one soon even if we have to create a reason for the gift. Patients are told that the bear stays with them as a reminder that hospice is available 24 hours per day, although not always visible. It has been rewarding to see how attached people become to these small bears and how comforting their presence can be. People have given the bears to a grandchild, been buried with them or left them to someone in their wills. They have become a recognized trademark of our team with their little NHO pins attached to them. Carilion Hospice, Roanoke, Virginia

  • Monthly Family Talent Showcase
    When new families come into the program, we assess if there are talents that family members would be willing to share at a designated time for all patients families/staff (e.g., singers, dancers, instrumentalists). We have the family members share during a monthly talent showcase at which refreshments are served. Virginia Medical Center Hospice Program, Richmond, Virginia

  • Time Out for Caregivers
    We receive monies from a fundraising organization to use as we choose for our program. We negotiated 3 month caregiver passes to a local fitness center, and we give them to family members that are feeling stressed out/overwhelmed, or are having difficulty coping. If it seems that three months is not enough, we do it again. They can use any of the equipment or get a massage. We're working on getting a contract with a center that has a pool. ComfortCare Hospice, Chesapeake, Virginia

  • Medical Outreach
    We send a local physician (who deals with general or oncology or internal) to a NHO meeting. The registration and transportation are underwritten. The physician is asked to report back to our staff and volunteers (and the public). This year for the first time we have received United Way funds for this. Hospice at the Eastern Shore, Virginia

Return to Great Ideas

  • Educational Library
    We established educational libraries in our nursing facilities where we have contracts. Books are on grief and loss, death and dying, palliative care, and end-of-life decisions. We also have some read-aloud books for family members and staff volunteers to use in visits with hospital patients. Money was obtained from a grant. Provides education to staff, families and residents. Promina Northwest Hospice, Marietta, Georgia

  • Christmas
    At Christmas our volunteers and staff go caroling to outpatients (transportation is provided by our automobile dealer), then we return for a post-caroling meal provided by "friends" of hospice. We are a small community, but this involves many people for good P.R. Good Shepherd Hospice of Mid-Florida, Sebring, Florida

  • Caregivers Support Group
    Two interns (at no cost) do needs survey and develop a support group for caregivers of persons with life-limiting illness. Focus of the group is nurturing with some education on areas the group decides are important. Hospice provides volunteers to sit with patient so caregiver can attend group. A local church provides meeting space, local specialty bakery and ice cream maker provide the refreshments. Central Vermont Home Health Agency Hospice, Barre, Vermont

  • Dream Team
    A volunteer-run group which works to make a hospice patient's dreams or wishes come true. Group raises money annually to use in this way and also contacts key people (merchants, and/or friends, neighbors, etc.) to ask for wishes to be donated. For example, a nurse discovered a patient and his wife were big Ohio State University football fans who would love to attend the Ohio vs. Michigan game, for one last time. We worked to find two of the very scarce tickets and arranged for a limousine service to take them in style one last time, at no cost to the family. Mount Carmel Hospice, Columbus, Ohio

  • Make a Wish for One of Our Patients
    His wish was to personally attend the Miami Dolphins football game before he died. The Center for Hope not only made it possible for the patient to attend the game but also to personally meet Dan Marino and all the other players (they even autographed a football for him). Patient died approximately one month after his wish came through. Center for Hope Hospice, Linden, New Jersey

Return to Great Ideas

  • Life is a Celebration Dinner Party Project
    Each month a patient and five guests enjoy a free catered dinner at their home. Sponsored by Hospice Friends committee in cooperation with area Hospice volunteers who continue to serve the dinners. Restaurants that volunteer to take part in the program are asked to donate six meals once or as often as they would like to donate. On the night of the dinner, the two volunteers arrive at the home with fresh flowers, china crystal glassware, gold plated tableware, tablecloth and napkins. Dinner is delivered by a restaurant. The volunteers return to remove the dirty dishes. A recent family member participant said, "Hospice volunteers have been wonderful. What touches me even more than the dinner is knowing that these people care and are willing to reach out and help others in need. It helps you feel like you're not so alone." Capital District Hospice, Inc., Schenectady, New York

  • Physician Preceptor Program
    Physician preceptor program: local teaching hospital gives opportunity for them to learn about hospice. Hospice of Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

  • Preceptor Program for Counseling Students
    In conjunction with the local university we will be proposing a preceptor program for the masters in counseling program. One chaplain is certified to supervise clinical for masters students as well as family practititoners and chaplains. He will be developing the curriculum in collaboration with faculty. Vista Hospice Care, Scottsdale, Arizona

  • Contracting at Neighborhood Pharmacies
    This involves the families to take the responsibilities to get the RX from the MD and pick the medicine for the patient. This saves thousands per year in deliver charges and gives the family members something to do. Metro Hospice, Atlanta, Georgia

  • A Hospice Educational Experience
    Collaborate at local medical schools and nursing schools to offer a hospice educational experience at the hospice. Rainbow Hospice, Park Ridge, Illinois

Return to Great Ideas

  • Better Communication with Nursing Facilities
    We are in many nursing facilities in our area. Credibility seems to be a very important area. We have our hospice nurses and nurse aides that have worked in nursing homes to help the facility understand that we know what they are going through. CCS Hospice, Dublin, Texas

  • Better Communication with Nursing Home Staff
    Problem: Nursing home staff where we have patients were giving us more and more petty negative feedback. For example, one began insisting our CNA arrive first thing in the morning to schedule her baths for that day, then return again later in the day to actually five the bath--requiring two separate trips to the home each day. Idea: We began issuing monthly memos to the nursing homes which detailed the care we provided for them that month, emphasizing the care (msw, chaplain, etc.) we give to families (which the nursing home staff doesn't see). We also summarize hours of personal care and board care we provided to patients of their home that month. Anonymous

  • Medical Student's Hospice Rotation
    In collaboration with the local school of medicine, medical students (3rd year) spend two days in hospice in their rotation. The students accompany nurses on home visits and the nurses tell them all about what they do. Evaluations are done both by the students and the hospice staff. Students have remarked that this program has really opened their eyes to the world beyond the walls of the hospital and given understanding of what hospice is. Saint Francis Hospice, Peoria, Illinois

  • Contracts with NSG Facilities
    We have nsg facility contracts in seven nsg facilities. We are currently developing a plan to recognize one nsg facility for exceptional hospice care per quarter. Hospice of Galveston County, Texas City, Texas

  • Gifts to Patients
    We have a yearly gift giving to patients to celebrate National Hospice month. All team members choose which patient they want to present gifts. Anonymous

  • Speakers Bureau
    A service offered to all nursing home contracted facilities (about 55) that we provide. The speakers are hospice staff. We developed a brochure that lists topics etc. Nursing homes have utilized this service frequently. Incarnate Word Family and Alzheimer's Hospice, St. Louis, Missouri

Return to Great Ideas

  • Reorientation Fair
    Having a reorientation fair for all employees. You have different booths were each employee must go to and receive a sticker on their card. For example: Upon entering: the 1st booth you show nursing license, drivers license, auto insurance, whatever you need to update your personnel files. Additional booths have jeopardy board questions on universal precautions, Tic Tac Toe on hospice  regulations, competency testing on equipment. Invite DME equipment vendors to show off their equipment and give inservices. In return they supply lunch, donuts, goodies, etc. Have hospital bed and w/c available too. Have therapist check off employees on transferring clients. Helps with vendors coming in to give inservices all the time to schedule this once a year. Many ideas come from this and it gets bigger every year. Nathan Adelson Hospice, Las Vegas, Nevada

  • Continuing Education Class for Doctors and Hospital Staff
    On the 2nd Friday of every month, we (hospice) and our med-Dir. sponsor a 30 minute continuing education mini class for Doctors, and any hospital staff. We use a lot of resources, e.g., videos from Purdue Frederick on pain management with Dr. Levy--one video for 15 minutes, then 20 - 30 true/false questions are read in a round table. Each person takes turns reading a question, answer, then small discussion. Members of hospice team (RN and MSW) are there and med-dir. To facilitate and/or present. We usually get several referrals after the meeting. We provide muffins, coffee, and tea and then visit the nursing floors afterwards. Hospice of Kona, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

  • Physician Training
    The rotation of interns and residents from the local hospital's house staff through a teaching and participatory hospice experience. Each physician receives four sessions on hospice specific areas such as: pain management, family dynamics, philosophy of hospice and interdisciplinary team and physician relations with patients/families. Each physician spends a day with the hospice team in patient conferences and home visits. Project 35-45 physicians rotated annually. Methodist Hospice, Memphis, Tennessee
Alliances and Networking Marketing and Referrals
Bereavement Special Programs
Clinical Staff Support
Community Education Team
Fundraising Volunteers

©2011 Dale G. Larson, Ph.D.