• Article

Hospices' preparation and practices for quality measurement


Hanson, L. C., Schenck, A. P., Rokoske, F., Abernethy, A. P., Kutner, J. S., Spence, C., & Person, J. L. (2010). Hospices' preparation and practices for quality measurement. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 39(1), 1-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2009.09.003


Hospice and palliative care organizations need to measure and analyze quality of care, in response to national palliative care practice guidelines and new hospice regulatory requirements. Little is known about hospices' readiness to meet this new mandate.

We analyzed data from a national survey of hospices to describe preparation and practices for quality measurement and research and to examine associated organizational characteristics.

Web-based survey of hospice staff responsible for quality of care.

Survey respondents represented 652 National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) member hospice organizations; 52% were participating in the NHPCO Quality Partners program. Most of these hospices involve clinical providers in decisions to change care practices (69%) and participate in quality improvement projects (64%), but research participation is uncommon (16%). Many hospices collect data about staff certification and training (76%) and use family surveys to measure care quality (70%). A minority of hospices have clinical data in electronic format (13%–29%). Large size, multiple sites, government ownership, and presence of a change leader in the organization were the characteristics associated with greater preparation for quality improvement and research.

Current organizational activities, data collection rates, and use of electronic data systems may limit hospices' preparation and practices related to quality improvement and research participation; larger size and designation of a change leader are associated with greater capacity. Hospices may need technical assistance and training to provide for meaningful measurement of quality of care.