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Safety Counts April 2015 - Download entire PDF by clicking here. 

Vol 3, No. 4, April 2015
April2015SafetyCounts Page 1

Hospice tuck-in program ensures meds, supplies and support for hospice patients at homeAprilSCpic1

An innovative program developed by Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice volunteers helps their patients stay on track and avoid weekend emergencies.

“Our tuck-in program is very simple,” said Jennifer McGlynn, RN, clinical team manager, hospice and palliative care program. “It involves a phone call, usually on a Thursday, to check in with patients and their caregivers before the weekend to make sure they have what they need.”

The call is scripted to ensure that patients are prepared for the weekend at home:

  • - Medication supplies are adequate.
  • - A nurse has visited or is scheduled.
  • - Pain levels are comfortable.
  • - Any additional needs that hospice can address are identified.
  • - The 24-hour support number (781-338-7866) is handy.

The mainstay of the program since its inception in early 2013 has been volunteer Roy Gray, who “works the phones,” as he says, every week to keep in touch with patients and caregivers. He has a script – to ensure that he covers all the bases – but he engages with them informally, too. “I serve as a touch point for patients and caregivers and a channel for feedback to the hospice team for any issues that might be raised during the call.” He makes 20-50 calls each week.

“At this point, patients and caregivers expect and look forward to Roy’s calls,” said McGlynn. “Some have even called to ask about him if he’s been out for a week or two.”

She added “the tuck-in program provides an opportunity for contact with the patient and family when a clinician isn’t visiting. By calling and confirming that the patient has enough medication to carry through the weekend, we are able to avoid a crisis for the patient and an emergency prescription delivery by our contracted pharmacy. The calls also decrease anxiety levels for patients and caregivers, since they know someone is watching out for them.”


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