I’m embarrassed to even share this story with you, but as a strong hospice advocate and professional for over 17 years, I feel that it is my duty to inform. This story is about a specific hospice that not only makes it difficult for people to obtain care, it is also a glaring example of an unhealthy corporate culture that is unsuitable for for growth.
The story is a classic example of a misguided corporate culture and I would love to hear your comments and know what your thoughts are about this type of behavior.
My Home Care Company, Homewatch CareGivers, is providing care for an elderly gentleman, who is age 70, while caring for his mother, age 92, who lives in his home. The mother has chronic cardiac issues and advancing Alzheimer disease. The son was acting as the primary caregiver for his mother and we provide supplementary care via an in-home caregiver to help the son out and give him a break.
While I was visiting one day, I had a nice talk with the son about end of life care for his mother. The son shared with me that his wife had died of breast cancer several years ago and that she experienced great care and compassion at a local hospice. He said that he had such a positive experience, that he continues to send donations to the hospice on a regular basis. Thinking ahead to his future needs, the son asked me if I would initiate the process with this local hospice so that he could be well informed and prepared when the time came for his mother to need their services.
The next day I called the in-take department at this hospice and explained the situation – that the son would simply like to speak with someone from the hospice, get his questions answered and have a representative see his mother. The woman in the in-take told me they would not speak to or see anyone without a physician’s order. I paused for a moment in amazement as I explained to her that the son only wanted a visit and to speak with someone about the services offered by the hospice. She flat out refused and I was shocked! I asked to speak with the Clinical Director and was told that he was unavailable. Next I asked to talk with a supervisor. Again, no one was available to assist me in providing a referral to their hospice. Finally I asked for the Clinical Director’s voice mail so I could leave a detailed message, which I did. I hung the up the phone shaking my head in disbelief.
Two day passed and no call back. I called and asked to speak with the Clinical Director – Again, no luck, so I left a message on the Clinical Director’s voice mail again and explained the situation in detail and requested a call back. Another two days go by and still no call back!
I called the son and politely explained what I experienced and I suggested that he consider another hospice. The son said that he want to use this hospice because of his past experience. I respected my client’s wishes and told him I would forge on.
That afternoon, I called the CEO’s office and after 15 minutes on hold I was finally able to speak with her and explained the situation and that that all I was requesting was a good will visit from her hospice to my client. She assured me that everything would taken care of.
Two days later I called the son who confirmed that he did received a call from the hospice, however, they still refused to make a visit until they received an order from his mother’s physician. The son said he spent the next two days trying to connect with his mother’s physician which he was finally able to do.
I am in total shock that this hospice wouldn’t send someone out to talk with the son. This unprofessional behavior not only prolonged the son and mother getting the care and support they needed, but caused me to formulate a poor opinion about this hospice, which I will never use again. You DO NOT need a physician’s order to talk with anyone about hospice and yet this hospice choose to create barriers that do not need to be there.
In previous blog posts I have written a great deal about a Culture of Growth. This story is an example of a dysfunctional organizational culture that not only creates excessive barriers to growth, but also causes long term damage to the organization’s reputation.
I’m still confused and in shock!!