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Hospice Care: 5 Tips to Help Your Patients Choose the Right Provider

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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.

1. Location
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.

2. Quality
Patients and their caregivers can use an online tool like (In Canada, 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.

5. Recommendations
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® 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.

Last revised: March 11, 2013

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. March 21, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Posted by Jim Monahan

    If a hospice is Medicare certified, which the great majority are, it must provide respite care, inpatient care, volunteers, and spiritual care. The best way to choose a hospice is word of mouth, if the pfamily member is in a facility, see which hospices serves the facility and check online for state surveys. Ask your doctor which hospice he/she works with if your doctor will stay on and provide care. Also see how long the hospice has been licensed. The longer, the better.


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