May I Help You?

Updated on June 24, 2013

Feb13_Customer Service_FrancoInsana copyBy Franco Insana

Not long ago, a young man arrived at our Center for Compassionate Care inpatient unit in Mt. Lebanon, requesting a tour. This kind of thing happens somewhat regularly. As one of Western Pennsylvania’s most respected hospice inpatient centers, we often have family members come in and ask to be shown around as they contemplate the needs of an ill loved one.

At Family Hospice and Palliative Care, we are always happy to oblige. We realize that families come to us at a most critical time and the privilege of caring for their loved ones is something we take seriously.

On top of that, our organization has been putting increased focus on customer service at all levels. Of course, it starts with the patients (and their loved ones) for whom we provide care – but it extends to vendors, benefactors, other health care providers and even each other on staff.

The day the young man mentioned above stopped in, it exemplified just how important compassionate care and customer service are.

The young man was immediately met by a member of our management team. He explained that his wife, just 36 years old, had been referred to our inpatient center in light of her brain cancer diagnosis. Knowing that after a mere nine years of marriage that this may be where his wife would spend her final days, he was eager to learn as much as he could about our Center and the care provided.

With tears in his eyes, the husband asked many questions about the medicines and care his wife would receive. Without hesitation, a member of our Family Hospice clinical staff contacted one of our medicine supply companies, getting all the information the husband needed. Our staffer reassured the young man that he would have everything just the way he wanted it for his wife.

A bit later, while visiting an empty patient room, the husband asked where the call bell light was – and proceeded to pull it. He wanted to know what kind of response time he could expect for his wife once she was admitted. Within seconds, one of our nurses came through the doorway. “I saw the call bell light up, may I help you?” she asked.

“Yes,” the husband replied, “I plan on bringing my wife here today.”

What our staff members did that day is all part of a day’s work – they do these same things for all patients and loved ones. And it is part of the hospice philosophy of care – where the patient and family are involved in making decisions.

These acts may be somewhat routine for our staff – but we try to never lose sight of the fact that they are very important to those we serve. This was certainly the case for the young husband that came to us with one priority: ensuring his wife received compassionate care.

In my additional role of Interim CEO at Family Hospice, I realize I get to see these situations in somewhat of a new light. I’m grateful for that, as it is sure to leave me with an even greater appreciation of how we serve the community.

Whether we meet patients in their home, in a hospital, a long term care facility, or one of our two Family Hospice inpatient centers, the goal remains the same: to provide compassionate care, comfort, and quality of life with respect and dignity.

We remain grateful for the chance to ask families – and all we serve: “May I help you?”

Franco Insana is the Interim CEO and full-time Chief Financial Officer of Family Hospice and Palliative Care. He has more than 25 years experience in business and accounting, particularly in the health care and non-profit environments. He may be reached at [email protected] or (412) 572-8800. Family Hospice and Palliative Care serves nine counties in Western Pennsylvania. More information at and

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