5 Ways to Develop a Good (Or Even GREAT) Relationship with Local Hospices

partner with hospices

No one really likes awkward relationships, do they? But complicated professional relationships don’t have to remain, well… complicated. By moving beyond the confines of your comfort zone (which can be hard, I know) and learning to connect on a new level, any two parties can change their thinking, come together and form an alliance.

This is especially true for the relationship you may have with hospice organizations in your community. While some funeral professionals may view hospice as a competitor, others have forged ahead to create a collaboration that is beneficial to both professions — and guess what? It’s working.

By partnering with your local hospices, you can also help a family during their most difficult time so they will have less to worry about and can focus on the time they have left with their loved one.

That’s what is most important, don’t you think?

As partners, your goal should ensure a smooth experience for the family. Both parties can work well together if they are trying to achieve the same objective of helping families cope with death. The benefits will be numerous to the family, including:

  • Reducing stress
  • Receiving pre- and post-bereavement counseling
  • Making the transition from hospice to funeral care easier

You will reap the benefits too. You will gain the knowledge of how a hospice center operates and what it does for families. You will also have the opportunity to educate others about the funeral profession and develop communication between hospice administrators and local clergy, the medical community and coroners for example. Finally, as you continue to build these relationships, it will ultimately help build your business.

However, your funeral home doesn’t just offer funerals and celebration services to increase your bottom line. You do it because it’s a healing experience for families and friends, as it helps guide the bereavement process. We want hospice workers to truly understand this, so that when they meet a family who needs these important services, they can guide them because they too have been educated on the benefits. But this will only work if the professions two work together.

So, let’s get to it. Here are five ways to develop a good and even a great relationship with your local hospice:

1. Share Educational Resources

In order to have an uncomplicated relationship with hospices, you need to prove your value to them, as well as really understand their objectives and needs. By both parties sharing resources, you are opening up the much-needed lines of communication that will lead to a credible alliance.

One way to share educational resources is by creating an informational guide or similar tool that is distributed to families in hospice about end-of-life decision making. This could include information about hospice or palliative care, tips for making final arrangements and other decisions that come along with the pre-planning process. Your loved ones and their families can learn about what happens when a person is dying, the funeral planning process and FAQs about cremation.

2. Develop Workshops

You can also create a lasting accord with a hospice by developing a workshop or series of workshops to help overcome the misunderstandings or complications hindering your relationship. These workshops can help hospices understand your profession’s background and the value behind your services. You can:

  • Assure hospice professionals that funeral services are valuable
  • View communication problems from the perspective of a hospice professional
  • Overcome the misunderstandings that have curbed constructive relationships in the past

You can even host hospice personnel, medical staff, clergy and other end-of-life professionals and work together to find ways of improving assistance to families when their loved one’s pass.

3. Hold an Open House

To truly help hospices understand how the funeral profession works, you can hold an open house for hospice workers and family members to come in and walk around. They can meet the staff, take a tour of the facility and get a feel for what is inevitably the next step. You can discuss the different types of arrangements and services you have available. For funeral directors, consider having a representative from other agencies on hand including cemetery administrators, florists, clergy, embalmers and even casket and urn company representatives to answer any and all questions that may arise.

4. Provide Information on Preplanned Funerals

Hospice workers don’t really like to talk about planning a funeral or memorial service with the families they service, especially when they don’t fully understand the benefits that these services can bring. Eliminate this uneasy feeling by offering local hospice centers information on pre-planned funerals that will offer their families emotional support and financial security. Through pre-planning, hospice workers can remind families of the comfort they will find in knowing that whatever they choose will reflect what their loved one wanted.

5. Take Time to Connect

To learn more about how hospice centers conduct business, it’s good to just get in there and learn about the people who work there. Listen to them talk passionately about the families they care for and what they love most about their jobs. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to hear how and why they would like to work with funeral professionals to help make both of your jobs easier. It may take awhile to build this relationship, but by taking the time to work on this alliance, you will be rewarded.

Once you have built a strong and valuable relationship with the hospice centers in your community, be sure to share your partnership with your families. Knowing that a funeral home has a strong relationships with a hospice center, and that there is easy, frequent communication and understanding between these two professions, may be an important deciding factor for families when it comes to their loved one’s end of life plans.

Your funeral home’s f1Connect website is a great way to share all sorts of resources and educational information with the families in your community. These websites come pre-built with valuable pre-planning information for both families and other professionals in the death care community. They also allow you to add your local hospice center to  your resources page, so families can easily come to you for your valued recommendation.

To learn more about how you can get started with f1Connect today, click here.


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