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Islands Hospice serves our patients, our families, and our community with a total commitment to excellence in hospice care.

What does customer service look like in hospice care?

Posted on September 1, 2019

Ask the Expert

Kelly Kawasaki, RN
Director of Clinical Services Facilities, Oahu
When we think about the many different customers we serve — our patients, their families, their primary care physicians, and even the hospitals and facilities we partner with — we need to ask ourselves how we can provide them with a “Wow” experience.
A few years ago, I found myself in the role of patient instead of caregiver. I was recovering in the hospital after surgery and a CNA stopped by my room to ask if she could get me anything. I couldn’t think of anything I wanted, so I told her I was fine.

She asked if she could get me a cup of coffee. That did sound nice, so I accepted. Then, she asked if she could help me sit up and adjust my pillows. I realized that I did feel hot and uncomfortable lying in the same position. These were things I hadn’t thought to ask about.

By the time she left, the CNA had filled my water pitcher and made sure everything I needed was within reach. She made me feel pampered and special, during a time when I was scared and in pain. She gave me a “Wow” experience.

Years later, I tell that story as an example of what we should all strive toward when providing customer service to our patients.

As for our other customers, we can ask ourselves how to make their day easier or help them do their job better. If a patient’s physician is too busy to sign off on a prescription or answer our emails, we can stop by their office instead of pestering them with phone calls.

If a hospital doesn’t have a discharge plan for a patient, we can collaborate with them to ensure they have a safe discahrge plan.

Here are a few simple ways you can “Wow” your customers:

  1. Be in the moment. Ask your patient, “What can I do right now to make you feel better?
  2. Anticipate. Can you move something within reach, refill a drink or get rid of clutter to improve your patient’s environment?
  3. Smile and nod your head slowly. Let your customer know you hear them and understand their worries, concerns, fears, etc.
  4. Connect with patients and families. A simple touch or hug can mean the world.
  5. If a patient is nearing the end of life, increase the frequency of your visits and comfort them with little details, like aromatherapy or a gentle massage.

By focusing on customer service, we can improve the quality of care we offer and support our patients, their families and caregivers on their hospice journey