Hospice facilities are intended to provide care for seniors at the final stages of their lives, whether these stages are reached through terminal illness or natural causes.
The people working in these facilities provide crucial, compassionate end-of-life support for both seniors and their families. Hospices employ a number of different professionals with diverse specializations, with administrative professionals providing organizational and financial expertise. Hospice directors are those in charge of the administrative team and, by extension, the hospice as a whole.
Job Growth and Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an expected growth rate of 17% for medical and health services managers from 2014–2024, which is much faster than the average across occupations.
According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, there has been a nearly seven-fold increase in the number of seniors enrolling in hospice care in recent years. This strong demand has created a significant increase in opportunities for individuals seeking work in hospice facilities.
The BLS reported a median annual salary for medical and health services managers of $94,500 in 2015. Professionals may find higher figures depending on the level of administrative responsibility they are tasked with, with hospice directors seeing the highest overall salaries.
Employment opportunities and salary ranges tend to vary based on a person’s work history and educational qualifications.
While entrance into the field of hospice administration can be gained with a bachelor’s degree, professionals will likely find that they require a master’s degree in healthcare administration, health management or business administration to reach higher positions of responsibility, particularly those seeking eventual advancement to a director-level position. Master’s degree programs may include up to a year of supervised administrative experience as a condition for graduation.
In addition to academic coursework, some professionals find it useful to consider an administrative certification such as the Certification for Home and Hospice Care Executives, provided by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice.
Hospice directors are tasked with overall management of the programs and services provided at the facility in which they work. They work closely with on-site physicians and nurses, support staff, counselors, social workers and the other professionals who collectively work to provide maximum comfort and care to the seniors living at the facility.
Administrative responsibilities may include development of overall facility goals and strategic direction, financial management and billing, work schedules for staff, representation of the hospice at investor meetings, coordination with staff managers and other senior-level tasks.
Hospices can come in a variety of sizes, with options available for directors preferring smaller, more intimate nursing homes to those preferring larger facilities in coordination with a local hospital.
Is a Career as a Hospice Director Right for Me?
Hospices are vital parts of our communities, providing comfort and care to seniors at a point in their lives when they may need it most. Hospice directors are tasked with a great deal of responsibility in overseeing the workings of these facilities, but for professionals with the right skills and temperaments, the career can be richly rewarding. A well run hospice improves the lives not only of the elders at the facility, but of their families and loved ones as well.