It’s never easy to think about end-of-life care. However, taking time to plan for the future eases the stress and anxiety for family and loved ones involved. Those living with a terminal illness want to make their last months, weeks, and days as comfortable as possible, and hospice care can do just that.
Hospice provides a peace and stress relief for everyone. It’s a decision that offers a variety of benefits, not only to the one who’s living with a terminal illness, but the family and friends who will be left behind. When it comes to choosing the right hospice care provider, it’s important to explore the benefits, services, health care providers, and affordability. To start planning, we’ve included 10 important questions to ask when the time comes for choosing hospice care and finding the right provider for you.
1. Is this hospice care recommended by your family, friends, or doctors?
How do those closest to you feel about this facility? Doctors and physicians are very familiar with various types of hospice care providers and they know you well enough to help you decide if it’s a good fit. Gathering as much information about providers as you can will help you narrow down what works best for your family to ensure you feel comfortable with your decision.
2. How long has this provider been in service?
Hospice care agencies who have been in business over 20 years show stability and reliability of service. One of the most important factors you’ll want to consider is the number of years of experience, history, and reputability.
3. Does this hospice agency offer Medicare?
One of the many benefits of hospice care is that most providers offer Medicare, but it’s best to ask around and make sure this is the case. Before your fees and services can be taken care of, they must be approved by Medicare. Items that can be covered include necessary equipment, home health aids, and counseling and grief services. Not having to worry about expenses takes a huge weight off, allowing you to enjoy precious moments with family.
4. Is this hospice state-licensed?
Hospices with Accreditation (JCAHO or CHAP) indicate that a third party organization has looked into their operations and come to the conclusion that they provide a reasonable standard of care. While getting the Accreditation is not mandatory and does not mean the hospice provider isn’t suitable, it does provide more peace of mind to know someone has taken a thorough look at their services.
5. Are they able to meet your specific needs?
While everyone’s needs are different, you want to be sure the hospice provider you choose is accomodating and able to make your loved one feel as comfortable as possible. It’s always a good idea to meet with hospice beforehand to decide if they are able to work with you and provide the care your loved one needs.
6. How often will a hospice member visit and for how long?
Does this hospice agency have individuals on staff 24/7 ready to provide care or treatment to make your loved one comfortable? Each organization is different and what one offers another may not. If you called with an urgent request, how fast would they respond?
7. How do they handle family and patient concerns?
Does this hospice have a process in place to share concerns with the appropriate hospice care staff and get it addressed as quickly as possible? Many family members will have questions and worries, and it’s important to make sure they get their questions answered so they can focus on what’s most important: spending as much time with their loved one as possible.
8. Do they offer extra services beyond what’s required?
Every hospice organization is different, meaning services may change depending upon the provider. This is another important question to check off your list to ensure that if you need something done, such as a certain treatment, hospice is able to take care of it. While you’re touring the facility, be sure to ask the staff other services from which you could benefit.
9. Will this hospice care provide care training to your family?
Another factor to consider when receiving hospice care is that your family is usually by your side day and night. Do they know how to respond when something goes wrong? It’s always smart to ask whether or not the staff will provide a bit of training so that your family and/or caretakers are prepared in the midst of a crisis.
10. Do they offer grief support services for your family and friends?
Grief and counseling support are often a lifesaver for family and friends dealing with the loss of a loved one. Be sure to check that they offer some type of support staff who will provide comfort and peace during the difficult moments of saying goodbye.
Our staff at Sytsema Funeral & Cremation Services takes pride in ensuring family, friends, and loved ones are well taken care of when it comes to choosing hospice care. We offer a variety of resources and tools, grief counseling, and preplanning services to provide comfort in a time you need it most. If you or a loved one need assistance in choosing a hospice care provider, contact Sytsema Funeral & Cremation Services by visiting our website or calling 231-726-5210 or 616-842-6100.