How to Choose a Hospice Provider

hospice provider’s hands Choosing the best hospice provider for your loved one is very important, although not necessarily as difficult as one might think. With a little bit of research, you can easily narrow your search.

Most hospice providers offer the same basic services, however…

Hospices that participate with Medicare provide the same basic services. However, there are distinct differences on how the care is provided and the mood that is set with family and the person receiving hospice services.  At Angels Grace Hospice, we invite families to compare our ratings on Medicare’s Hospice Compare website.  The best way to really know – is to compare and interview potential hospice providers.

Generally, with Medicare, the choice is limited only by the location of the patient. In many communities, this means there may be several providers from which to choose. However, some insurers other than Medicare may require you to first consider a “preferred provider” with which the insurance company has negotiated favorable rates, in order to receive the full financial benefit of your policy.

Hospice Providers with “Quality Care” Credentials

 

At Angels Grace Hospice, we meet state and local regulations for operating as a business and we are proud to be accredited by Joint Commission which is an agency that measures a provider’s quality of care against best practices and standards.  You will find that not all providers are the same. We are proud to report that our general hiring practice is first by personal recommendation from an already employed nurse or health aide.  We seek out seasoned professionals with a variety of past clinical backgrounds in order to serve our patients and families with the best care possible while maintaining comfort, dignity, and respect.

Narrow down the choices

There are many ways to determine which provider(s) to consider. One of the best is by word-of-mouth, particularly if a relative or trusted friend will share their hospice experience. At Angels Grace Hospice, many of the patients we serve are referred to us by word of mouth in the community. Often, the hospital discharge planner or social worker will have a list of local providers. Your physician not only may have a list of providers, he/she may offer to share their professional experience with the hospice provider for you to take into consideration.  If your loved one is in an Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing Facility, they may also be able to provide input on which provider(s) to consider. Remember, you have the right to select which provider you feel best meets your needs.  Once you know which provider(s) to consider, you can set up informational appointments with one, some or all. At Angels Grace Hospice, we know the decision to enroll in hospice is a difficult one, but we are here to help you every step of the way.

Conduct interviews

You should expect any potential hospice provider to send a representative to meet with the patient (if he/she is able) and the family in order to discuss the services provided and answer questions. If an in person meeting is not feasible, an audio conference call can be arranged. Consultation is free of charge and we encourage one to write down any questions you might have so if they are not answered during the presentation, they can be addressed.  Our goal is to make sure by the end of the consultation, you feel well informed to make the best decision for you and/or your loved one.

Examples of Questions To Ask Your Hospice Agency

 

  • What is the typical response time if we need to reach someone at the hospice after normal business hours, or on weekends and holidays?
  • How quickly will a plan of care be developed for the individual by the hospice?
  • How quickly can we expect pain and/or symptoms to be managed?
  • How quickly will the hospice respond if medications do not seem to be sufficiently addressing pain or symptoms?
  • What does the hospice do when someone’s pain cannot be adequately managed at home?
  • If there is a need for inpatient care, how will that be addressed by the hospice?
  • Are there any services, medications or equipment that the hospice doesn’tprovide?
  • What kind of out of pocket expenses should the family anticipate?
  • How often will a hospice team member visit and how long will most visits last?
  • When the hospice orders medication, where can it be picked up, or is it delivered by the hospice?
  • Do members of the team providing care have additional training and certifications for their hospice and palliative care skills?
  • What is expected of the family caregiver?
  • Will the hospice provide training to family caregivers?
  • Can the hospice provide respite care to give family caregivers a break and how does the hospice arrange that?
  • What help do your hospice volunteers provide and how can we request help from a volunteer?
  • Does the hospice measure quality of care and does it have any quality data it can share?
  • What kind of bereavement support is offered by the hospice?
  • If we are unhappy with some aspect of care the hospice is providing, who can we contact at the office?

What is important to you

Besides the answers to your specific questions, consider the “chemistry” (or lack of) with the hospice representative. Although that individual may not be someone directly involved in your care, you should feel comfortable with whomever the hospice has sent to make a first impression.  As with any other important decision, try to take time to make an informed choice.

Angels Grace Hospice provides a customized care plan to meet the specific needs of patients.  We provide comfort care in your home, hospital, nursing home or assisted-living facility depending on your individual circumstances.  Contact us with any questions and for further assistance with your end of life care options.