Guidance to help people make a choice about a hospice provider

Categories: Education.

When a loved one is diagnosed with a serious or life-limiting illness, the questions facing an individual or a family can be overwhelming.  The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization recommends that people learn more about hospice as an important option before they are faced with a medical crisis.

A free worksheet from NHPCO, Choosing a Quality Hospice (PDF), will help patients and families with some of the important questions they should consider when learning about or choosing a hospice.

Hospice is not a place but a kind of care for people who have a life-limiting illness and are making the choice to focus on quality and comfort if more conventional treatments have become burdensome.

Hospices provide high-quality care specially tailored to your needs and valuable support to family caregivers. 

With multiple hospices serving some communities, it can seem challenging to select one.  NHPCO suggests the best way to begin is by reaching out to the hospice providers in your community to find the one best equipped to meet your specific needs. 

“Choosing a hospice to care for yourself or a loved one in the final months or even days of life is an important and stressful process,” said J. Donald Schumacher NHPCO president and CEO.  “Each hospice offers unique services and partners with specific community providers – so it’s important to contact the hospices in your area and ask them questions to find the one with the services and support that are right for you.”

Your physician, other healthcare providers or family friends that has taken advantage of hospice services in the past is another way to get a recommendation for a provider in your area. 

Some of the questions important in choosing a quality hospice include: 

  1. Is the hospice Medicare certified?
  2. When was the last state or federal survey of the program?
  3. Is the hospice accredited by a national organization?
  4. What services should I expect from the hospice?
  5. How are services provided after hours?
  6. How and where does hospice provide short-term inpatient care?
  7. What services do volunteers offer?
  8. How long does it typically take the hospice to enroll someone once the request for services is made?

Another question is when to begin hospice care. Every patient and family must decide that based upon their unique needs,  however, professionals encourage people to learn about care options long before they think they may need them.

Download the free Choosing a Quality Hospice worksheet from NHPCO’s Moments of Life website.

Visit the Moments of Life: Made Possible by Hospice to learn more about all that hospice can do and to search for a hospice provider in your area,

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