Hospice Software Helps Agency Manage Volunteers

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Karen Utterback 
Former Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, McKesson (Retired)

Old and young hands.Managing 1,200 active volunteers is no task for the timid. But after talking with Katy Geschke for 30 seconds, you’ll know that she’s the right woman for the job.

Geschke is the manager of volunteer services at HPH Hospice, a non-profit that provides hospice and home health services to residents of Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties in central Florida. The hospice agency serves more than 700 people at any time and maintains four hospice care centers and four hospice homes.

She has six volunteer coordinators on staff who train and supervise the volunteers, who are as young as 14. The hospice agency keeps track of volunteer hours with McKesson’s Horizon Hospice™ solution. The hospice software system monitors each volunteer, recording such information as hours worked, when training is required or has been completed, when paperwork needs to be updated and other important information. The hospice can print individual volunteer reports or aggregate ones with such information as whether the agency is meeting the condition of participation that 5% of hospice time be worked by volunteers.

“We have to conduct monthly audits on 1,200 people to meet regulatory guidelines,” Geschke says. “Our coordinators do a great job keeping track of everything.”

New volunteers undergo two days of training, learning the basics of hospice, the aspects of their particular volunteer roles, as well as HIPAA and confidentiality guidelines. Volunteers can choose from a smorgasbord of options, including patient care, office or kitchen help, 11th hour volunteers when death is imminent, bereavement telephone support, children’s grief camp or working in the thrift store. HPH Hospice also has a teen volunteer program and a legacy program, where upon request volunteers create a DVD of a client’s life. Finally, the hospice agency offers a compassionate paws program where dogs certified through Therapy Dogs International visit clients.

HPH Hospice has a large service area, so even though 1,200 volunteers sounds like an ample number, where volunteers live and where hospice services are needed sometimes don’t line up. Recently, when volunteer numbers slipped in east Pasco County, the hospice agency advertised in the local newspaper and church bulletins for an ice cream social at its Dade City care center. More than two dozen potential volunteers showed up, and nearly all of them became volunteers, Geschke says.

“We couldn’t provide the range of services we offer to clients without the dedicated efforts of our volunteers,” Geschke says. But without the tireless efforts of Geschke and her staff, none of this would be possible.

Learn more about how hospice software from McKesson Horizon™ Hospice can help agencies provide better care for patients.

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