Hospice care is provided to those who need support during an advanced illness. The goal of this type of care is comfort and quality of life. Support is given to the patient and family in many forms by a team. The team may include doctors, nurses, counselors, social workers, PT, OT and Speech therapy, hospice aides, homemakers and volunteers. If you are a Medicare recipient, Medicare will cover all Medicare-covered services while you are receiving hospice care.
Who chooses my hospice provider?
During a discussion with business associates the other day, the subject of Hospice came up.
It appears that in some cases, families are lead to think that they need to choose a hospice provider that works within their healthcare network, or one that a provider, such as an Adult Care Home or an Assisted living, prefers to work with.
It is necessary to clear up any misconceptions – Hospice is paid for by Medicare and patients have the option to choose any hospice provider they prefer.
Choosing a hospice program.
When searching for the best hospice service for you or a loved one ask the following:
- Are they certified by state and federal government agencies?
- What is the case load of the provider? More importantly, what kind of time commitment can they make to you?
- Will the staff meet with you on a regular basis to discuss changes and updates?
- What if you need services after working hours? Who is on call and how available are they?
- What kinds of services do the volunteers provide and what kind of training have they received?
It is ok to engage a hospice provider based on a trusted friend or associate’s recommendation. It is, however, a better idea to interview several providers. I have found the difference in services, at times, comes down to the specific individuals that will be in direct contact with the individual on hospice, such as the RN, social worker, bath assistants, not necessarily the company – though different companies, as with any industry, have different philosophies.
My point, bottom line is – ask around, do your research, if possible, and know that you have the choice in providers.