March 11, 2013
At an extremely difficult time in the lives of your patients and their family members, you can be a great source of help and guidance.
A prognosis of less than six months left to live can send patients and their families reeling emotionally as well as logistically. There’s so much to coordinate, prepare for and finalize. One of the most important tasks will be to select a hospice provider to care and comfort their loved one during the last days of his or her life.
Here are five considerations from the Professional Patient Advocate Institute to help you guide patients and their families in selecting the right hospice care.
Hospice care can take place in various locations, such as in a person’s home, at a nursing facility or in a hospital. Location can play a big part in how responsive a hospice agency will be to a patient’s needs, especially in case of an emergency.
Patients and their caregivers can use an online tool like WhereToFindCare.com (In Canada, HospiceDirectory.org) to compare hospice agencies according to how people rated the quality of care they received.
3. Levels of care offered
When choosing a hospice provider, an individual will need a provider that can accommodate his/her needs. Some hospice agencies provide only routine home care. Other kinds of care include comfort care, respite care and inpatient care.
4. Hospice staff
The composition of the hospice staff can vary greatly from one facility to the next. Ideally, patients and their family members and caregivers should look for hospice providers that have a full-time medical director, home health aids, chaplains and volunteers.
Word-of-mouth recommendations from friends, family, co-workers and other acquaintances are helpful in determining the quality of a hospice provider.
Family members may also want to consider supplementing hospice care with in-home non-medical care services from a provider like the Home Instead Senior Care® network. Home Instead CAREGiversSM can take care of the cleaning, grocery shopping, and other home helper services, allowing family more time with their loved one. CAREGivers can also provide companionship and respite care during hours when other team members are off duty. When needed, trained CAREGivers may provide personal care services to relieve family members from this often difficult task.
While the weight of wanting to make the best hospice care choice may seem overwhelming to a patient and family, your guidance can ease the burden and help ensure the patient’s final care needs are best met.
Get helpful tips and articles like these delivered to your email.