Employee Benefits to Include End-of-Life Planning and Care

Employers have begun to assess the extent to which issues of end-of-life care are affecting their workforce. A small but steadily increasing number of companies have started providing their employees with a new category of benefits encompassing elements such as a living will, hospice and assisted living care, and grief counseling.

Approximately 1 out of every 5 Americans in the workforce is currently a caregiver for a sick or injured loved one—and this is not just an issue affecting elderly employees. Workplace surveys are revealing that a majority of employees who are caregivers are under the age of 40.

Bereavement and employee caregiver responsibilities can have serious implications on bottom-line factors of productivity, recruiting and retaining talent, and turn-over.

In addition to crucial statistics regarding profitability and productivity, HR leaders are considering the role of supportive company policies and benefits in employees’ emotional well-being. A positive work environment creates a safe space for employees to experience a full range of life experiences—even the negative ones. Work shouldn’t be a reason for end-of-life planning or complications for an employee or his or her loved ones to become any more stressful than it already is. And the right employer approach can make it less stressful.

For those employers who do want to offer support to employees acting as caregivers or undergoing other matters of end-of-life care, a subtle approach tends to work best. Death is a touchy subject that can make even the most helpful of intentions come across as pushy or creepy. Instead, it’s best to simply help employees know that resources are available to them if needed—and what those resources are.

Consider inviting a healthcare professional to come speak at a brownbag lunch meeting.

Your company can even host end-of-life learning courses, with incentives for completion. By completing workbooks throughout a series of courses, employees will then have a reference tool when they consider end-of-life treatment options for themselves and family members that will help them when they complete a living will.

Include information about end-of-life care benefits and resources as part of your comprehensive benefits information package. Considering choices about end-of-life care may not be as disrupting or upsetting when employees are already considering their general healthcare options.

End-of-life care benefits are an emerging evolution in the realm of employee benefits. Current workplace recognition of end-of-life care issues is very similar today to employer acknowledgement and treatment of obesity nearly 10 years ago. Awareness around the topic is growing thanks to organizations like the National Business Group on Health in conjunction with National Priorities Partnership work on Palliative Care.

With identification of bottom-line factors of productivity and profitability as well as emotional well-being of employees, leading companies will continue to bring this issue to the forefront of human resources discussions and demonstrate the effectiveness of incorporating end-of-life planning and care as part of an efficient and comprehensive benefits package.

Please contact us for group pricing and plan options if you are an employer interested in offering Keystone Digital Living Will to employees.


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