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Hospice changing staff caseloads to increase availability of nurses to patients, families

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Hospice of the Bluegrass announces that it is changing staff caseloads to increase the availability of nurses to patients and families. This move will create 10-12 additional nursing positions by early next year. Unfortunately, the move will mean the elimination of up to 20 social work positions across the state in Hospice’s 32 county service area.
Patients, families and the medical community have relied on Hospice for end of life expertise for more than 30 years. Hospice of the Bluegrass is committed to compassionate quality patient care. This commitment to patients requires Hospice to continually evaluate how care is provided to ensure that services the terminally ill patients receive remains at an exceptional level.
“Through feedback from staff and families, we have determined that patient needs require increased nursing interventions. This caseload modification will increase the time nurses can spend with patients,” said Gretchen Brown, president and CEO.  
Employees affected by the change will be offered a severance package and given at least 60 days notice in order to make appropriate arrangements.
“This was not an easy decision, nor will it be an easy process in the coming months. We would prefer attrition as a way to achieve the targeted caseload assignments, but social workers have the lowest turnover rate of all disciplines and it could take several years to reach the appropriate staffing level,” added Brown. “Ultimately, Hospice makes decisions based on what will improve the quality of the care received by patients and families. At the same time, we care about the employees who are losing their positions and will do what we can to make a difficult situation more bearable.”
Brown added that this move is not financially motivated because the personnel costs for the new nurses will be about the same or greater than the costs of the displaced social workers.