Document Type



Medicine and Health Sciences


Background There has been increasing attention paid to quality assessment in hospice as the industry has grown and diversified. In response, policymakers have called for standardized approaches to monitoring hospice quality. The experiences of a set of hospices involved with the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement Collaborative, which was designed to test the use of a standardized patient symptom assessment tool as an exemplar of efforts to standardize symptom assessment in hospice, were examined. Methods Transcripts of semistructured telephone interviews with 24 individuals from eight of the nine participating hospices, which were conducted in July–August 2007, were analyzed using the constant comparative method. Interview questions centered on the collaborative’s impact on the process of quality assessment at the hospices. Findings The collaborative activities influenced several hospices’ quality assessment processes, most beneficially by prompting greater attention to quality assessment processes, by promoting the adoption of quality assessment tools, and by creating a supportive community. Challenges included the limits of distance communication technology, participants’ misconceptions about data to be received, and potential lack of support and resources for quality assessment. Conclusions The experiences of the participating hospices in the NAHC collaborative are intended to inform the design of future interorganizational learning efforts to promote quality assessment initiatives within hospice settings. Future hospice collaboratives should use multiple methods of communication to build a close participant network and be clear about collaborative goals and participant expectations and about the reciprocal relationship of the collaborative and the participants.


Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2011 October 27. Published in final edited form as: Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2011 January; 37(1): 38–44. PMCID: PMC3203014 NIHMSID: NIHMS322940