What are some questions I should ask when looking for a hospice program?

Hospice care is a philosophy of care that accepts dying as a natural part of life. When death is inevitable, hospice seeks to neither hasten nor postpone it.

Below is a list of questions you should consider when looking for a hospice program.
 Is the hospice licensed? Are they Joint Commission Certified?
 What types of services are provided?
 What kind of support is available to the family/caregiver?
 What roles do the attending physician and hospice play?
 What does the hospice volunteer do?
 How does hospice work to keep the patient comfortable?
 How are services provided after hours?
 How and where does hospice provide short-term inpatient care?
 Can hospice be provided in a nursing home or long-term care facility?

Who qualifies for hospice care?

Hospice care is for any person who has a life-threatening or terminal illness. Most reimbursement sources require a prognosis of six (6) months or less if the illness runs its normal course. Patients with both cancer and non-cancer illnesses are eligible to receive hospice care. All hospices consider the patient and family together as the unit of care.

How does hospice serve patients and families?

Hospice care is a family-centered approach that includes, at a minimum, a team of doctors, nurses, home health aides, social workers, chaplains, and trained volunteers. The team works closely together, focusing on the dying patient's needs, whether physical, psychological, or spiritual. The goal is to help keep the patient as pain-free and comfortable as possible, with loved ones nearby until death.
 Physician for the medical direction of the patient's care.
 Regular home visits by registered nurses and licensed practical nurses.
 Home health aides and homemakers for services such as dressing and bathing.
 Social work and counseling.
 Medical equipment such as hospital beds.
 Medical supplies such as bandages and catheters.
 Drugs for symptom control and pain relief.
 Volunteer support to assist patients and loved ones.

How does hospice care work?

Typically, a family member serves as the primary caregiver and, when appropriate, helps make decisions for the terminally ill individual. Members of the hospice staff make regular visits to assess the patient and provide additional care or other services. Hospice staff is on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The hospice team develops a care plan that meets each patient's individual needs for pain management and symptom control. The team usually consists of the following individuals:
 The patient's personal physician
 Hospice physician (or medical director)
 Home health aides
 Social workers
 Clergy or other counselors
 Trained volunteers

The Joint Commission Accredited

Member of The National Association
For Home Care And Hospice