How to Choose A Hospice

Choosing a hospice is a very important decision. While hospice programs may have the same basic philosophy of care, each differs in some ways. Hospices are eager to answer questions and help you decide which hospice can best meet your needs. Here is a list of questions to help you choose the hospice program that is best for you:

  • What services does the hospice program provide?
  • Will the program cover the cost of medications?
  • How does the hospice manage pain?
  • How many times per week will a nurse and other hospice staff visit?
  • How many hours of aide support can be expected each week?
  • How many hours of support from volunteers can be expected each week?
  • Who is the hospice physician? How will he or she work with your physician?
  • How are families involved in the patient’s care?
  • If this hospice program is chosen, how soon can the services be started?
  • What does the hospice admissions process include?
  • How is a plan of care developed?
  • How does the hospice staff, working with the patient and family members, honor the patient’s wishes?
  • What support does the hospice provide to the family after the patient dies?
  • How many patients at any one time are assigned to each hospice staff member who will be caring for the patient?
  • Is the hospice program accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting organization? Is this hospice program licensed and Medicare certified?
  • How many years has the program been serving this community?
  • Can your program provide references from professionals?
  • How does the hospice program monitor its caregivers? Are the caregivers licensed? Does the hospice do a criminal background check on its caregivers?
  • If palliative (comfort care) treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy, or blood transfusions are needed for symptom control, does the hospice provide this therapy?
  • Does the hospice program offer inpatient care?
  • What facilities does the hospice use for respite care?
  • Who can you call with questions and complaints? What is the process for resolving issues?

The Truth About Hospice