Posted on July 3, 2019
By Caitlan Butler
Life Touch Hospice recently received recognition from Hospice Honors for their higher-than-average quality measures rankings.
Life Touch Hospice is an end-of-life health care provider, caring for individuals with serious illnesses, as well as their families.
After a patient’s care has been completed at Life Touch, their families are asked to complete surveys rating the quality of care their loved one received, the outreach provided by Life Touch staff, the emotional and spiritual support both they and their loved one received from staff and other quality metrics.
“You have to be above the national performance in a majority of the areas, and that’s how they determine the Hospice Honors,” Life Touch Hospice Executive Director Jennifer McClelland said.
Hospice Honors compiles survey scores for hospice facilities throughout the country, choosing those with higher-than-average scores for recognition. Life Touch Hospice performed better than the national average on more than 83 percent of the quality metrics measured in the surveys.
“They rate patient care, first of all. ‘Would you recommend this hospice again?’ Then communication … One section was getting timely help and it asked if you received help during evenings, weekends and holidays,” McClelland explained, going on to list other metrics like treating a patient with dignity and respect and looking for consistency in care, among others.
Life Touch Hospice serves an average of almost patients each day. Between June 30, 2018 and July 1, 2019, almost 400 patients were cared for by Life Touch Hospice staff.
“We have a total of 40 employees here. Of course, that includes Hospice House, home care, nurses, social workers, chaplains, administration staff – everybody,” McClelland said. “I know that all of my staff does everything they could possibly do to go above and beyond to provide the best care for their patients and families. One thing that I tell them a lot is that we get one chance to get this right, so you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do to get it right.”
Life Touch is an agency of the SHARE Foundation, a nonprofit that helps to develop and foster programs and services that further the health and well-being of people in the community.
McClelland said she thinks being a nonprofit is a big part of Life Touch’s high quality care.
“Obviously we have to make enough money to keep the doors open, but we take every patient and situation and assess it differently, because everything’s different. You could have two patients with the same diagnosis, but it’ll be a different situation. Families are different, symptoms are different, caregivers are different, how they live is different,” McClelland said.
While Life Touch does bill insurance companies, including Medicaid and Medicare, for patients that are insured, those who are not will still receive care. That’s where the SHARE Foundation comes in; their help allows Life Touch to care for uninsured patients as well.
“We have the best support in our five-county community ever. It’s awesome,” McClelland said.
McClelland said it is very important at Life Touch that each patient receives individual care.
“We try to treat each patient individually, try to give them everything that we possibly can to make a rough, hard, sad time as peaceful as possible,” McClelland said. “The majority of our patients are at home, or in nursing homes.”
In addition to the health care provided to their patients, support and education are also offered for the families of Life Touch patients. After a patient’s care has been completed, Life Touch follows up with their families for the following 13 months to offer support.
“It’s more than death and dying; it’s a team approach to taking care of everybody,” McClelland concluded. “So many people think that hospice is a place, when it’s not. It’s a way of being taken care of.”
To learn more about Life Touch Hospice, visit lifetouchhospice.org. Life Touch Hospice serves Bradley, Calhoun, Columbia, Ouachita and Union counties.
Caitlan Butler can be reached at 870-862-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.