Choosing a Hospice
Choosing the right hospice is very important. While most hospice programs have the same basic philosophy of care, each is different in the way they deliver that care. Hospice programs are very willing to answer questions and assist in determining which hospice can best meet the needs of a particular patient and family. Here is a checklist of questions that might be useful to ask:
- What services does the hospice program provide?
- Is the hospice program certified by Medicare and licensed by the state? This is important to ensure that the program has all the required services and meets state laws.
- Will the program cover the cost of the patient’s medications? Give the program a list of medications.
- Are hospice aides readily available from the hospice?
- Who is the hospice physician, and will he or she work with the patient’s physician to provide care?
- What facilities does the hospice use for inpatient care? For respite care?
- Will volunteers be assigned to the case?
- If treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy, or blood transfusions are needed for symptom control, does the hospice provide this therapy?
- If the patient or family is unhappy with any aspect of the program, what will be done to address the problem?
- If this hospice program is chosen, how soon can services be started?
- Does this hospice program provide any support to the family after the patient dies?
- What does the hospice admission process include?
- How does the hospice manage pain?
- How are families involved in the patient’s care?
- Who handles the paperwork for the insurance billing?
- Will this hospice program honor an advance directive?