VITAS Individualized Pampering Program Elevates the Patient Care Experience

Compassionate care for end-of-life patients is more than pain and symptom management. It can also include comfort services that elevate a patient’s care experience.

That’s where the VITAS Individualized Pampering (VIP) Program comes in. This program supplements a patient’s clinical plan of care with relaxation services and memory-support activities.

“The VIP program helps the hospice team learn what experiences or interventions might help manage or alleviate the patient’s symptoms,” says VITAS Chief Nursing Officer Karen Peterson. “If pampering, such as getting their nails done, was relaxing for them in the past, it may help ease their anxiety or stress while on hospice.”

Improving Quality of Life During a Patient’s Final Months, Weeks, and Days

Interventions are associated with:

  • calming anxieties
  • reducing the feeling of isolation
  • engaging patients in tactile stimulating activities if they are immobile

These applied services may help stabilize the patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, sleep quality, mood, and more. The mental stimulation alongside connection with volunteers and the care team improve the patient’s quality of life.

“It is extra TLC that began for patients in senior living communities and has expanded to patients across our spectrum of care,” says National Patient Care Administrator Teresita Mesa.

What Are the VIP Program Services?

VIP services focus on relaxation and support. The VITAS care team assesses each patient’s needs and provides the services that help the most, which may include:

  • Grooming
  • Nail care
  • Hand rubs
  • Music
  • Adult coloring books
  • Puzzles
  • Games like “match the shapes”
  • Playing cards
  • Participating in construction or craft kits
  • Sensory tools for fiddling, sorting, and touching
  • Providing twiddle muffs/fidget blanket

Other relaxation techniques can include:

  • Massage
  • Reiki
  • Tai chi
  • Guided meditation
  • Deep breathing techniques

Services may vary by location; not all experiences are available in all programs.

How Patients Receive VIP Services

“The hospice care VITAS provides is based on an individualized clinical assessment,” says Peterson. “It is important for the care team to understand the patient’s symptoms and needs from the patient and caregiver perspectives, so we can offer solutions based on our clinical expertise. Many symptoms a hospice patient may experience affect their quality of life.”

To add VIP Program services to a patient’s care plan, clinicians complete a questionnaire for each individual. The questions help team members learn which services will appeal to each patient, such as:

  1. Hobbies: What types of hobbies do (or did) you enjoy?
  2. Interests: What do you enjoy discussing? What captures your attention?
  3. Travel: Do you (or did you) like to travel? Do you have any travel destinations on your bucket list? Where are your ancestors from?
  4. Games: Do or did you enjoy watching or participating in games?
  5. Work: What was your profession?

The questionnaire helps clinicians identify what the patient has always wanted to do and never done. It offers a checklist of possibilities to further narrow the options to the patient’s specified interests.

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