Hospice Medical Director
The hospice medical director of the hospice team supervises terminally ill patients at home, nursing homes, assisted living communities and personal care homes. The hospice team consists of volunteers, pastors, social workers, assistants, nurses and medical directors. The hospice director is a professional doctor who is responsible for ensuring that:
- Each patient’s willingness to care is respected
- Supporting the hospice team
- Achieving the care goals set for each patient
To fully understand hospice care, it is very important to understand the job responsibilities of the medical director. The main focus of the medical director is to develop and manage a hospice care plan for each patient. This means that the medical director will meet with each patient, assess their needs and create a care plan that meets each patient’s needs. They are then responsible for communicating the plan to other members of the hospice team and any other caregivers who might assist the patient. As the needs of patients change, the medical director will adjust the plan accordingly and inform team members of these changes. If there are any questions about the patient’s care plan or health status, they are also the main source of information for other team members and family members. The medical director spends a lot of time talking with family members and explaining the patient’s condition. This is one of the most important roles of the medical director. The family must fully understand the treatment plan and make an informed decision. Similarly, the medical director is also responsible for fulfilling the patient’s final wishes. If the patient has any wish, the medical director’s job is to ensure that everyone is aware of that wish so it is not refused.
Responsibilities Of Medical Director
- The hospice director directs, supervises and manages the hospice care plan, including:
- Inpatient care
- Home care
- Bereavement follow-up
- Manage and maintain quality assurance, environmental and infection control policies by facility objectives.
- The director of hospice care prepare reports on facility operation activities for the hospital management department.
- Develop educational and informational programs related to hospice care
- Provide input for strategic decisions affecting the functional areas of responsibility
- Provide input for budget formulation
- Coordinate with the hospice team
The Medical Director Of Hospice Care Provides Care To Patients
The medical director of hospice care is committed to ensuring that each patient is provided with the highest level of quality care and that the care provided meets each patient’s spiritual and emotional needs.
The medical director of hospice care helps patients in the following ways:
Develop A Care Plan
The hospice medical director is responsible for preparing a comprehensive medical care plan for each patient and ensuring that every hospice care team member, nursing staff and patient family member understands the care plan. Although each care plan is unique, usually the care plan includes:
- Management plan for pain and symptoms
- Measurable medical condition of the patient used to implement the care plan accordingly
- Specific medication and treatment needs
Confirm That The Patient Is Terminally ill
Before entering the hospice program and during each recertification period, the hospice medical director must confirm that the patient is terminally ill and has an estimated life span of no more than six months and is eligible for hospice care.
Respect The Patient's Dignity
They ensure that the patient’s desire for care is respected. Patients will not get drugs or treatments they don’t want.
The Medical Director Supports The Hospice Team
The hospice medical director also plays a vital role in supporting the hospice team and ensuring that all aspects of the hospice patient care plan are operated to the highest standards. They provide support through:
They provide medical advice to the hospice team. During an interdisciplinary group meeting that analyzes and reviews patient care needs at least every two weeks, the medical director advises the care team on how to best provide each patient with the specific care they need.
Maintain Quality Assessments
According to federal regulations, hospice medical directors need to develop and implement meaningful, internal, data-driven quality assessments to analyze the continuous improvement of palliative care results and their effectiveness.
Ensure Quality Care
They ensure that infection control standards are met. The hospice medical director is also responsible for maintaining a clear and concise hospice infection control plan. Medical directors can also conduct regular quality assessments to help improve existing infection control plans. They ensure that all aspects of the hospice team and facilities are operated to the highest standards of care.
The Hospice Medical Director Helps The Patient's Caregivers
The role of the medical director is mainly to provide patient care and support the hospice team with their responsibilities also extending to helping the patient’s family and caregivers by:
Instructing The Caregivers
The Director ensure that the family members understand the patient’s care plan. Although there may be many changes in the patient’s care plan, the hospice medical director ensures that the family knows precisely which drugs and treatments will be used to provide hospice care for terminally ill relatives.
Respecting The Wishes Of The Patient’s Family
The Director respects the wishes of the family members to care for the patient. Although the patient’s personal willingness to care for himself is prioritized, if the patient cannot communicate on his own, the hospice medical director will ensure that the family’s wishes of hospice care for their loved ones are respected.
The Director determines the patient’s and family’s ability to manage care. As part of the interdisciplinary team meeting, the hospice medical director determines whether the patient or the patient’s family can safely manage medications and biologics while at home.
The Skills, Abilities & Knowledge Of The Medical Director
Medical directors are instilling the following soft skills to help them fulfill their primary duties of hospice care.
- Demonstrated knowledge in hospice care
- Have a keen knowledge of the Medical aspects of hospice care
- Pain and symptom management skills
- Able to work independently while cooperating with other team members
- Work with patients/families of all ages.
- Excellent communication skills
- Demonstrate leadership skills to promote proper guidance and supervision of employees.
- Ability to adapt to changes
- Assist in the formulation and review of clinical protocols and emergency care procedures as well as patient care policies
- Participate in quality improvement plans and programs; identify opportunities to improve patient care and safety.
- Regularly review the performance of physician staff & Review whether the patient is eligible for hospice care
- According to the available prognostic indicators, prove that the patient meets the medical standards for admission and recertification
- Assist an interdisciplinary team (formulate and implement a nursing plan coordinated with the attending physician)
- Provide medical service guarantee and support for hospice care workers in the absence of the attending doctor or after normal working hours
- Negotiate with the attending doctor and provide necessary medical management according to the nursing plan and the needs of the patient
- As a resource for pain and symptom control measures for hospice care workers, patients, family members and attending physicians
- Conduct home visits and visits to inpatient hospice care facilities for patient assessment and care as needed and deemed appropriate
- Arrange designated personnel to perform palliative care consultation visits in facilities or patients’ homes as needed.
Professional Skills & Requirements Of Hospice Medical Director
- Should be competent and up-to-date, complying with established standards.
- Demonstrate understanding of exposure control plans, infection control policies and procedures and general preventive measures.
- Attend meetings to provide continuous updates on knowledge and skills.
- Should always engage in professional behavior as a representative of hospice care.
- By complying with the policies and procedures of departments and agencies, take responsibility for work performance every day.
- Clarify and show professional image to colleagues and the public every day.
- Demonstrate respect for family values, privacy and confidentiality of information.
- Will demonstrate the technical, management and interpersonal skills required to function in a self-directed work team.
- Constructively lead or participate in team meetings.
- Maintain good relationships with team members, managers and other teams.
- Should maintain high standards of integrity and business ethics.
- Comply with hospice care rules, policies and procedures and applicable laws and regulations.
- Immediately report any suspected violations of compliance standards to the compliance officer and/or the ethics committee.
- Should protect the privacy of all patients and the confidentiality of patient health information.
- Participate in educational training related to HIPAA privacy standards and Protected Health Information (PHI).
- Comply with policies and procedures specifically related to protected health information.
The medical director monitors the patients’ medical condition to avoid any mistakes. These examinations are done by visiting clinicians and communicating through interdisciplinary group meetings to discuss all matters involving new and old patients. Experiencing challenging medical conditions can be difficult. Nonetheless, you can always rely on your hospice medical director and team to provide you with the necessary facilities for your convenience. You can also rest assured that comprehensive monitoring, home care services and other interventions are easily accessible.