Patients can be taken care of in their own homes or assisted living facilities. Patients can also be cared for in a nursing home, nursing home, veterans' center, or hospice with high-tech equipment.
All services are provided without discrimination on the basis of race, religion, illness, age, disability. Discrimination against those who don't speak English fluently, LGBT members or people with intellectual or developmental disabilities is strictly prohibited. All payments are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, some HMOs, and most private insurances. Many hospices are Medicare members. All hospices participating in Medicare must offer the same essential services. They may be different because of the additional assistance they receive from agencies.
The medical team includes your primary care physician, a hospice physician, nurses, home-health aids, and a social worker. If necessary, speech, occupational, and physical therapists may be used to treat your loved one. A clergy member is a comforting presence. Volunteers are trained to provide additional services.
The hospice team will develop a care plan to address symptom management. The hospice team will provide therapy, medication, equipment, and supplies to treat pain and other medical needs. The staff will do their best to offer emotional, spiritual, and social support to the patient as well as their loved ones. They also train family members on how to provide the best care.
This article provides details on how to evaluate hospice providers. This is a quick summary.
1. Evaluate agency qualifications.
To provide Medicare coverage for your loved ones, the hospice you choose must be Medicare certified. Ask the hospice staff if they are certified in hospice care. This certification means that the person has been trained and educated specifically to meet the needs of terminally ill patients.
Accreditation signifies that the agency is capable of providing high-quality care. The hospice has met the strict standards of the governing body to be accredited. To become accredited, a facility must pay a fee. The facility then has to be inspected on-site in order to confirm compliance with established policies and procedures.
2. Ask about the services available to patients.
All Medicare-certified agencies must provide essential services. However, there are many that go beyond this. To make informed decisions, it is essential to be aware of all amenities. While some agencies speed up the admissions process, others may take longer. Hospices may offer programs for children and patients with specific diseases, such as cancer. These policies should all be reviewed.
Freestanding Facilities – Some programs offer temporary housing such as hospice homes so that patients can live in a familiar environment. This arrangement is not covered under Medicare or Medicaid. If you do not have insurance coverage, you will have to pay for the hospice house yourself.
Response times - Although you can reach staff members 24 hours a days, some home care services are only available during certain times. Ask about the availability of support during emergency situations and on weekends. What is the time frame for staff arriving at the home? The agency can send a doctor, nurse, social worker or clergy member to visit the home. There may be a difference in the staff and response time of hospices.
Pre-Existing Treatments : Make sure your loved one continues to receive the same treatment that they are receiving. Medicare does not require you to receive certain services in order to alleviate your suffering. Some hospices are not able to reduce the size and extent of tumors using chemotherapy or radiation.
Inpatient Care – Make sure that you have this option. Hospices may offer temporary respite services for caregivers. Some agencies will transport a patient to a hospital if home care proves difficult. Many agencies don't have inpatient facilities. Instead, they lease beds in a hospital or nursing home. Inpatient care might be available. To ensure safety and cleanliness, make sure you visit the facility. If you would prefer a specific hospital or nursing home, ask the hospice if they have a contract.
Continuous Care - Will an agency send someone who will stay at the bedside until the patient dies? Your family will be supported. Some hospices cannot provide 24/7 care.
3. Ask about family support.
Respite Care – This service allows caregivers to take a break. It is part of hospice programs. It is important to find out the time, duration and who gave it. An agency might provide a volunteer, nurse's aid or nurse. It is important to ensure that you are happy with the arrangement.
Volunteer Services - Find out what you can do to help others. Volunteers can help with companionship as well as personal hygiene and meal preparation. Find out how quickly volunteers can be found.
Bereavement support - Find out about the grief support available to survivors. Many hospices offer support services such as individual counseling, writing assistance, and outreach letters.
4. Take note.
Interview multiple hospices to ensure you are satisfied with the service. Make sure to write down any questions you may have. Be sure to evaluate the response and attitude of staff members before you ask them. Is it genuine concern? Or businesslike? It is possible to refer back to conversations that you had later. These are questions you might like to ask.
It is important that you do not pay for the first meeting with a program representative. You should not be required to choose a specific agency.
You should make notes when visiting a hospice that offers inpatient care. You can make comparisons and help you make informed decisions by having documentation.
5. Learn more.
Ask friends and family if they have experience with hospice. They might be able help you find a reliable agency. One may be recommended by your healthcare provider. A discharge planner can help you locate agencies and share their experiences.
Ask your hospice representative if they have quality control data. Most programs offer satisfaction surveys to get feedback about program performance. These questionnaires should be reviewed by a representative to determine the most recent scores.