Knute Nelson Hospice recently added a new information-gathering tool that helps provide more personalized care during patients’ last days.

The tool analyzes more than 11,000 data points, documented from nursing and social work visits. For example, if a nurse documents a medication change due to shortness of breath, the program increases that patient's visit frequency for the social worker, registered nurse, and home health aide.

After processing this information, it predicts patients who are likely to pass away within seven to 10 days. The program has eight risk levels, ranging from extremely low to critical. If there’s a sharp decline in a person’s status, that would also prompt an increase in visits.

“It’s no secret that patients need and deserve more care at the end of life,” said KaLee Mohrman, director of hospice. “The increased number of visits at the end of life aren’t only benefiting the patient but the family as well.”

Patients in Knute Nelson Hospice are seen during their last seven days of life around double the amount than those in other hospice agencies. The national average of the number of visits a hospice patient gets at the end of life is 5.44, while the Knute Nelson Hospice average is just under 11 visits, according to Mohrman.

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These visits can include, but are not limited to, frequent medication adjustments from a nurse, bedbound assistance from home health aides, conversations with a social worker for support in funeral planning and writing the obituary.

This allows hospice staff to provide the proper care at the right time, preventing as much discomfort as possible for the patient and the individual’s family members, Mohrman said.

“This new technology, combined with the expertise of our team, ensures that we're offering the most appropriate care when it’s needed,” Mohrman said. “This technology enables us to enhance the quality of care of patients and their loved ones receive at the end of life.”

Knute Nelson is a faith-based nonprofit, providing senior housing and healthcare that offers a variety of services to the west central Minnesota region. For more information about hospice or the predictive-modeling tool, call 320-759-1270 or visit www.knutenelson.org/hospice.