Must Ask Hospice Questions

Doctor’s are trained to make people better. But what if they can’t make us better, what if our illness has progressed to the point that we need to consider other options-like hospice.

Hospice is a set of services that we all may need someday. While death is not an option for any of us, we do have choices about the services we use at the end of life. Hospice is undoubtedly the best option for those who qualify. A whole variety of benefits, not only to those who are ill, but for the family and caregivers as well, are available. With many options available, it’s important to do your research and know the right questions to ask.

What is the companies reputation? Get references both from people you know and from people in the community who have dealt with them- local hospitals, nursing homes, and clinical staff. Ask if they have had experience with the hospice and what their impressions are. How long has the hospice been in business? If it has been around for a while, that’s an indication of stability. Is your family prepared to be the caregiver to your loved-one and can the company meet your specific needs? See if what the hospice expects from family members is consistent with what you are all able to do. Be sure to mention any concerns you have and confirm that the hospice is able to address these.

The two biggest questions should be around crisis response and additional support services such as respite and continuous care. If you needed someone from hospice to make a home visit at 2 a.m. could this be done and how fast would that person arrive?

In addition to home care and inpatient care, when symptoms prove unmanageable at home, hospices also offer respite care. Breaks for the caregiver that last up to 5 days during which the patient is moved to an inpatient bed for 24 hour oversight. And continuous care at home for brief periods at the patient’s home when family caregivers are unable to manage on their own. Ask under what conditions the hospice provides these types of care. CompassionCare hospice has a unique program called “Crisis Care” please visit this section on our website to learn more.

Lastly, how are patient and family concerns handled?  Is there a clear process for reporting concerns with appropriate hospice staff members and making sure these are addressed in a timely manner. How does the company track their care? Do they evaluate their performance on a regular basis and work on improvements efficiently when needed. By asking these key questions you are sure to find an agency that best fits you or your loved-ones needs.

For more information on CompassionCare’s services or hospice, please call us at 702-636-0200.