Selecting a hospice care provider can be a very stressful and emotional task. This is a service that will be part of your family for the final, most difficult days. However, a good hospice service can make your loved one more comfortable and help reduce the stress in your own life and the lives of your family members. There are a wide variety of services offered by hospice, for both the terminally ill patient and his or her family. Here are some pointers to help select a hospice care provider.
First and foremost, make sure that all of the hospice care provider’s services are approved by Medicare. If you or your loved one is in renal failure or over 65, you may qualify for Medicare. Therefore, make sure that any therapists, nurses, hospitals, nursing facilities, doctors, and labs that work with this provider are all approved by Medicare. This is important whether you seeking in-home hospice care or outpatient hospice care.
Accreditation and Licensing of the Hospice Care Provider
There are many kinds of accreditations a hospice care provider can apply for. CHAP, JCAHO, and ACHC are the standard accreditations to look for when comparing hospice providers. Keep in mind, a provider does not have to be accredited to operate, and this doesn’t mean that a non-accredited provider will be inferior. However, by selecting an accredited company, you know that a knowledgeable 3rd party has approved the provider.
In addition, some states require the provider to be licensed. If this is so, make sure you find a provider that is licensed. A facility willing to run a business without a license is not to be trusted.
What is Their Inpatient Policy?
If your family member is receiving in-home care and has to go to the hospital, what is this hospice care provider’s policy? Some of them have their own skilled nursing facilities or have access to an area hospital. Make sure that facility is one you trust and can readily get to.
Find out if the provider offers family respite services. End of life care can be emotionally draining and physically exhausting for family members. Some hospice services provide for as many as 5 days of respite care in which the patient is moved to an inpatient facility to receive continuous service. This gives the primary caregivers a respite. Find out the conditions under which this provider considers these services.
Certified in Palliative Care
Palliative care is intended to help with relief from stress and symptoms. Doctors and nurses can be certified in palliative care. They don’t have to be certified, and certainly, an experienced person without a certification can be a fine alternative. Certification is simply one more sign that the provider hires qualified, trained people.
Perhaps most importantly, talk with friends or trusted experts for help with finding a quality provider. Ask other people if they have had any experience with a hospice care service, and if so, get the name of the agency. You can also ask any doctors involved in the medical care of you or your loved one. While doctors are not legally allowed to refer to a specific provider, they will know options and can help to get you on the right path. Word of mouth can be a powerful source of information.
To compare providers online with a specialist, call a Grace Specialist at 877-273-0110. We can walk you through hospice options based on your preferences and help find the care you or your loved one needs.