In this Voices interview, our Director of Training and Education, Natasha M.S. Jackson, PharmD, sits down with Hospice News to learn about the disparities and inequality in hospice access and other challenges providers face. She explains how providers can help push for greater health equity and also discusses her role developing Enclara’s learning and development resources.
Hospice News: What career experiences do you most draw from in your role today?
Natasha Jackson: I have worked in many different areas of health care, including providing clinical support at an accountable care organization and clinical management at Enclara, serving hospice organizations. Prior to joining the Enclara team I served as a clinical administrator where I created training and education resources for patients and clinical care teams. I frequently draw on these past experiences in my current role at Enclara as Director of Training and Education.
It is important that our training and education content be able to support our hospice partners and their daily activities. Our goal is to provide the most up-to-date, relevant information for the nursing team and medical directors.
What does the Director of Training and Education do for hospice providers?
Jackson: I support our hospice partners through the development of clinical resources, as well as training and education resources for our digital tools. It is important for hospices to have these resources at their fingertips as both clinical best practices and Enclara tools evolve.
My department focuses solely on training and education support for our hospice partners. We recently released our brand new At Your Pace learning center, a self-paced learning environment that allows users to train and complete interactive education sessions on their own schedule. Within the learning center we have designed e-learning courses, resource documents, videos, webinars and other tools that will help our partners. We also provide live training sessions and Q&A forums. Offering a variety of options allows us to get the right mix of training in place so hospice staff can best serve their patients.
The hospice benefit is a wonderful care option for patients, yet disparities and inequality to hospice access remain. Why?
Jackson: Health care providers want to make sure that health care, and the hospice benefit specifically, are available to all patients everywhere. The hospice benefit provides patients and families with decreased costs, better quality of life and support for patients and their caregivers, but we continue to see a small percentage of minority patients using it.
The hospice community has a responsibility to reach those patients. If you look at the national demographics, we are not quite there. Black and Hispanic Americans make up a very small percentage of patients who are utilizing hospice services. This is due in large part to a lack of understanding around what hospice can offer to patients, so it is important we continue to share that message.
It is also important to understand that patient preferences for end-of-life care can vary based on an individual’s racial, cultural or spiritual background. The hospice community must continue tailoring services to meet patient goals. I think there is a significant opportunity to provide education and knowledge about the hospice benefit so we can see it utilized across a broader patient demographic.