Hospice care is an important service for individuals with a life-limiting illness who are in need of pain and symptom management. Focusing on improving a person’s comfort and quality of life, educating family members on care techniques, and providing respite care services, hospice is a team of multi-disciplinary experts working together to meet the wishes of each client and his or her family.
When the time comes for a loved one to enter into hospice care, choosing the right provider is essential. Emotions can feel overwhelming, but knowing the right questions to ask can help family caregivers make informed decisions that can have a positive impact on their loved one’s end-of-life care.
The following are some questions to ask when selecting a hospice care provider.
- Are they highly recommended? A hospice provider’s word-of-mouth reputation is important, as it indicates their quality of service. Ask friends and family members if they have used a hospice service that they recommend and seek references from local community organizations and professionals that you trust, such as hospitals, doctors, nurses, etc.
- How long has the provider been in operation? If the hospice provider has been around for a while, that is a good indication of stability, experience, and quality service.
- Is the provider Medicare-certified? The hospice company must be certified by Medicare before any services or equipment will be covered.
- What out-of-pocket costs should the family expect? Be sure that anything that will not be covered under Medicare or private insurance and will require out-of-pocket payment is made clear up front.
- Can the hospice team meet your loved one’s specific needs? Making sure your loved one’s needs are met at this time in their life is of the utmost importance. Be sure to discuss all types of care your loved one is currently receiving as well as any concerns you or your loved one has about future care needs.
- How quickly will pain and symptoms be managed? Once hospice services are begun, pain and symptom management should be addressed immediately. The hospice nurse will determine the most effective ways to provide comfort and help patients find relief.
- What current treatments or medications would have to be stopped, if any? Hospice care is centered around quality of life for an individual with a life-limiting illness. The choice to begin hospice care means discontinuing any curative treatments, but not necessarily stopping all medications. A hospice nurse should work with each patient individually to determine the best course of action.
- What is expected of family caregivers? The stress of a life-limiting illness can feel overwhelming for family members. The hospice agency will work with families to determine the most effective ways in which to meet the needs of both patients and family members.
- How are family and client concerns addressed? While hospice agencies do their very best to meet client and family needs during end-of-life care, it’s important for families to know who they can speak to if there are concerns about care or the care plan. Knowing who on staff can address any issues, as well as their availability, is critical and helps provide peace of mind.
- How is quality of care measured? Knowing that the hospice agency your family is working with has an ongoing commitment to exceptional care is important. From specialized training for staff to membership in industry organizations or associations, these each help ensure that high-quality care is delivered.
- Is bereavement counseling or support offered? As a loved one reaches the end of life, grief can be overwhelming for the family, and having support during this time is vital. Bereavement services are often available while hospice care is being provided.
Choosing a hospice provider for a loved one is an important step in end-of-life care. The more information your family can obtain about the company, its services, and its overall reputation, the better you will feel when inviting their specially-trained team into your home to support your loved one.
At Superior Home Health and Hospice, we believe that caring for individuals at the end of their life is an honor, and we take the role we play in the lives of our patients very seriously. Our compassionate caregivers provide holistic care for each person we serve as they near the end of life’s journey.
To learn more about our Solvang hospice services and the other areas we serve, contact our in-home hospice care team today at 805-742-4514. We are happy to answer any questions you have and support you each step of the way as you navigate care for your loved one.