Come back with me to November 22, 1995. I'm standing next to the bedside of one of the most beloved people in my life... my brother Michael, and he's dying.
It's painful to watch him wasting away. The sense of helplessness is profound. And yet he is surrounded by this wonderful group of people in this hospice facility who are making the experience of death one of dignity and grace instead of fear and despair.
On that day in 1995, I had been a Hospice Administrator for over 10 years. I could tell you the rules and regulations, the staffing patterns, and the budget. Hospice was in my head. It was my job.
But on that day... that day in 1995, standing next to my brothers bed, hospice came into my heart. And I have never been the same.
In my three decades of working in hospice, all across the U.S., I've discovered there are certain things that separate good hospices from great hospices. And it usually doesn't have anything to do with healthcare.
The essential benchmarks of excellence in hospice come down to three simple, yet interconnected things:
Each of these three are essential, but when they are combined... it's like alchemy! They are what make good hospices great. And it's not the size of the program, or the tax status, or how much money you have in the bank. I have seen small hospices and large programs beautifully and skillfully embody Mission, Purpose and Passion and change the way their entire communities view death and dying.