Why We Need to Go Back to the Future with Hospice
Dr. Samira Beckwith has been a pioneer in the hospice field for the past 40 years and has served as President and CEO of Florida-based Hope Healthcare for more than 30 years. She is a visionary and dedicated champion for palliative care, quality of life and end-of-life issues.
Her expertise and lifetime commitment to quality care is acknowledged throughout the state, nationally, and internationally having served as Chair for both the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the National Hospice Foundation. She is the Founding President of the Florida PACE Association and a Founding Director of the National Hospice Work Group.
Dr. Beckwith and I had a terrific conversation recently, when we recorded an episode of the Netsmart CareThreads podcast. She unpacks what it means and why it’s so important for hospices to go back to the future.
Here are three points I took away from conversation.
When we talk about going back to the future of hospice, what we mean is providing for the person and the family, focusing on comfort when cure is not possible, explains Dr. Beckwith.
“Instead of being pushed-to-the-brink-of-death care — and that's what some folks believe hospice is,” says Dr. Beckwith — “our future lies in going back to those early principles, to our commitment to caring for people.”
“It's important for us, with our mission-oriented hospices, to remind the community about our roots, our beginnings," Samira says. Many people have no idea of what their local hospice organization does or offers.
Healthcare is competitive, she says, but at the end of the day, we have to help people understand that all healthcare is local. “Who's coming to care for your loved one at their bedside? Who has been part of the community for decades? Who are your neighbors? Church members? Your hospice was local in the past. We're local now. And we're going to continue to be local for the future,” Dr. Beckwith says.
From the very beginning, hospice leaders strived to help people become more open and understanding about the opportunities available to them at the final stages of life. As Dr. Beckwith says in the podcast, “An open conversation means everyone has to come together — businesses, regulatory organizations, legislators, hospices and healthcare systems — to effect meaningful change.”
Achieving the goal of transformation requires resetting so many systems, but part of it comes down to simple reimbursement and to regulations and legislation. Bottom line? “Healthcare providers have to quit trying to make the most money that they can and start to think about what's best for the people in their system,” says Dr. Beckwith.
Listen to the podcast, It’s Time to Go Back to the Future with Hospice Care with Dr. Samira Beckwith.
If you want to hear more episodes like this one, check us out on Apple Podcasts.
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