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cancer pain management, documentation, end of life, evidence-based practices, hospice, older adult, quality



  1. Bergen-Jackson, Kimberly M. MSN, RN
  2. Sanders, Sara PhD, LMSW
  3. Herr, Keela PhD, RN, FAAN, AGSF
  4. Fine, Perry G. MD
  5. Titler, Marita PhD, RN, FAAN
  6. Forcucci, Chris BSN, RN
  7. Reyes, Jimmy MSN, RN
  8. McNichol, Patricia BSN, RN, CPHN


Documentation is a key factor in supporting consistency and quality of patient care in the hospice setting; however, variation among program provider practices, including documentation, was observed during the data collection phase of a study testing an intervention to promote Evidence-Based Practices for cancer pain management in 16 Midwestern hospices of varied size and structure. In the absence of uniformly adopted outcome measures and documentation standards, quality improvement initiatives in this important and growing healthcare sector will be difficult to manage. This article provides background on the importance of documentation, quality measures, outcomes of care, and regulatory imperatives in the hospice setting, with specific observations from our research study and suggestions for changes in documentation practices. From our observations, we posit the necessity of pertinent outcome measures supported by standardized documentation processes in hospice. Uniformity in key practice indicators and patient outcome measures in documentation systems would advance the movement to improve quality and consistency of care in hospices. Standardization of documentation systems and language would also facilitate the conduct of research in the hospice setting, a population for which advancing knowledge is essential to assure quality care at the end of life.