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What Does a Hospice Director Do?

A hospice director oversees all aspects of patient care.
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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 02 October 2014
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A hospice director generally is responsible for planning and coordinating medical services for patients likely nearing the end of their lives. To accomplish this, the director, sometimes known as the hospice administrator, oversees all care efforts, ensuring compliance with all local, state or regional, and national regulations. The hospice director is also responsible for planning or approving budgets, hiring, and may even take on a teaching role for staff needing further training. Another job of the director is to act as a liaison between patients, families, and staff.

The primary goal of the hospice director is to assure the facility is meeting the needs of the patients, and that it is doing so in a manner compliant with all valid regulations. As a medical facility, the hospice is responsible for meeting certain standards of care and cleanliness. If these are not followed, government inspectors could fine the facility, or even shut it down. Given the constant nature of changing regulations in health care facilities, the director is also responsible for keeping staff informed of changes.

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Another job of the hospice director is to ensure that the budget approved is appropriate and that expenses are in line with, or at a certain ratio to, revenues. Depending on what type of hospice the director is working for, the goal of budgeting could be somewhat different. At a non-profit hospice, the goal is simply to ensure expenses never exceed the revenues. At a for-profit hospice, the goal is to reach certain profit levels. The paperwork and tax filings are also somewhat different between the two types of agencies.

Personnel oversight is another important job of the hospice director and directly related to patient care. While the director of human resources may make hiring decisions, the director may have influence or say in at least some of the individuals that are hired. The director is also responsible for making sure that staff receives all training needed, not only when it comes to new regulations, but also ongoing training for standards of care, and when the hospice itself has new policies to be implemented.

Given the work that is done at a hospice, and the emotions that can sometimes be involved, the hospice director is also responsible for acting as a liaison between family, patients, and staff. If the family believes something is not being done appropriately, or simply has a question about something, the director could be called upon to provide an explanation. While other staff may be capable of answering the question, the director serves as the final authority. This can be one of the most difficult parts of the job because it involves dealing with individuals who may be under severe stress.

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