What does any of this have to do with hospice? Well, as I see it we are a community that once looked out, conquering and creating new models. On the 50th Anniversary of Dame Cicely Saunders’ founding of St. Christopher’s Hospice, and in in the 35th year of the Medicare Hospice Benefit, we must recognize how far we’ve come and how courageous and brave we’ve been. I applaud all who helped hospice thrive and grow to where it is today. But like Moana’s island, we’ve grown accustomed to what the hospice island has given us, comfortable with the model and perhaps reluctant to venture beyond the hospice reef. I think that we all know that the healthcare world is changing, as it always has, and that we need to innovate and adapt.
I want to emphasize that innovation here is not about reinventing the wheel, forgetting the past and creating new and better ideas. There’s some of that for sure, but it turns out that we have the people and the tools to do amazing things. We’ve done it before, when we had far fewer people and far fewer tools. Think of what we can do if we bring it all together.
After a few failed attempts with a little boat, Moana is given permission to use the mothballed boats of her ancestors. These boats help her get beyond the reef. Like Moana, we need to venture outside of our island, beyond the reef. Like Moana, we might get tossed into the ocean or hit by a big wave from time to time. But if we use the tools that got us to where we are – a spirit and determination that there is a better way to care for seriously and terminally ill patients – we will be able to expand our reach to provide care, earlier and BE a fully integrated model. We need to give ourselves permission to be a little uncomfortable, to venture beyond our reef and move toward a brighter and sustained future.
If we do this right, we will ensure that hospice won’t be an island, but will instead be a much larger and more integrated part of the world. In fact, our future rests upon this notion. Most importantly, the health care needs of our patients depend on it.
By Edo Banach, JD
President and CEO