Guide to Choosing Hospice Care

May 1, 2013

Hospice is the philosophy and practice of compassionate, comfort and dignified care for those with life-limiting illnesses. As with many healthcare decisions, there is much to consider when choosing a hospice provider. However, caring for a loved one at this stage of life can be challenging, both emotionally and physically. View tips on choosing a provider, and find out what questions you should ask while selecting one.

Guide to Choosing a Hospice Provider

Hospice: Finding a Supportive Provider

Hospice signifies the comprehensive approach to meeting the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of patients with a life expectancy of months or weeks, with a special emphasis on controlling pain and symptoms (also known as palliative care).

At this critical time in a patient’s journey, you need the full support of a trusted partner and medical team who are specialists in Hospice care.

Whether prompted by a doctor’s order, or an individual decision, you have the power of choice when transitioning to Hospice care. The guide below offers a series of questions to ask when selecting the Hospice provider that will work best for you and your family.

Questions to Ask a Potential Hospice Provider

  • How established is this provider?
  • Where does the provider perform Hospice care (home, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals)?
  • Are hospice nurses required to be certified in Hospice care?
  • What kind of support is available to the family/caregiver?
  • How does the person’s primary physician work together with hospice?
  • How are services provided after hours?
  • How and where does the hospice provide short-term inpatient care?
  • Does it clearly explain the services it’s providing and how much it will cost?
  • Are services covered by insurance, Medicare and Medicaid?
  • How does the billing process work?
  • Will they help me modify my home to accommodate the patient? Will they coordinate all needed equipment
    and setup?
  • How long can I receive hospice care?
  • Can I speak with someone today?

Which Services Are Involved in Hospice Care?

Every patient requires specialized care to focus on their well being, and needs for pain management and symptom control. Understand the range of services offered from your provider.

  • Nursing care
  • 24/7 support access
  • Pain and symptom management
  • Payment for hospice-approved medications and medical equipment
  • Massage therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Patient, caregiver and family education
  • Counseling and social work services
  • Personal care (bathing, grooming, dressing)
  • Spiritual support
  • Bereavement services for families (15 months after a loss)

Who Will Be on My Loved One's Hospice Care Team?

Hospice care calls on a full team of compassionate and qualified professionals to ensure proper treatment, management and emotional support throughout the process. It’s important to know the team members that you’ll have access to with hospice care.

  • Certified hospice and palliative care nurses
  • Medical director
  • Social workers for in-home counseling (master's-prepared and licensed)
  • Spiritual care coordinators
  • Bereavement counselors
  • Home care aides
  • Massage therapist (certified in manual lymph drainage)
  • Art therapist
  • Trained volunteers (patient visits, relief for caregivers, legal assistance)

Making the Call

Once treatments options have been exhausted, Hospice is there to manage patient’s pain, symptoms and emotional needs – and all from the comfort of a preferred location. Patients and families can turn to trusted providers to take care of the finest details, and in turn, make every moment count.

Call VNA of Ohio Today

Learn more about Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio's hospice services, or call us today at 1-877-698-6264.

Download the Guide to Choosing Hospice Care (PDF)

Posted in: Caregiver Resources, Hospice

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