When a loved one receives the news that he or she has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, it can be life altering. Besides taking time to process the news and deciding what to do next, finding the right hospice care provider can bring another wave of emotions.
However, your family can feel relieved knowing a hospice provider will offer the support your loved one needs during this crucial time. Hospice offers a unique kind of care for families and patients, focused around enhancing quality of life and providing comfort rather than continuing curative treatments.
If all other treatment options have been exhausted, it may be time to start the search for a hospice care provider. Here are five important qualities to look for to ensure quality care and find the best fit for you and your family:
1. The Provider is State-Licensed and Accredited
When a Hospice is state-licensed with Accreditation (JCAHO or CHAP), it means they have been analyzed by a third party organization who has looked closely at their operations and determined that the hospice provides a reasonable standard of care.
This accreditation is based on standards met for patient care, management, and plan development. Not all agencies provide the same level of care, which is why it’s comforting to know whether the hospice provider you choose is reliable.
2. They Have Reliable References
Is this hospice provider highly reliable and recognized by family members, doctors, or physicians? It’s often smart to ask around before settling on a provider that you may not know anything about. Most of the time, doctors are very familiar with hospice care and will give great recommendations that you and your loved one can trust. Plus, since doctors know their patients’ health history and condition better than anyone else, they are better able to point you in the right direction for a perfect fit.
3. The Hospice Documentation is Clear
Hospice providers that have been in business well over 20 years show stability and reliability of their services, supporting the fact that the most experienced programs have their policies and standards clearly documented and available for review.
Be sure the hospice provider you choose offers a high level of transparency when listing services, costs, payment plans, insurance, and whether or not they offer Medicare. Most hospices do have Medicare, but it’s always best to ask a representative to be certain.
4. Their Introduction and Evaluation is Trustworthy
When first becoming interested in hospice care, most providers will have you or your loved one meet with a representative in order to have any questions answered and be sure it is an appropriate time to enter into the program. This is where the representative will lay out the services offered, how they will ensure comfort, the types of treatment and medications offered, etc. While some may prefer speaking over the phone, it’s always best to meet in person to feel more comfortable with your decision.
This is a great opportunity to evaluate the representative, provider, and their services to see if they are a good fit with your family. It’s very important to ensure you and your loved one choose a provider that you feel confident in and has a staff you can trust.
5. They Have a Great Plan of Care
Highly experienced hospice providers lay out an in-depth plan of care for your loved one even before admittance into the program. If you’ve found a hospice care provider like this, that’s a great sign. This plan is important as it will go through all your specific needs to ensure your loved one’s wishes and end-of-life decisions are met.
The plan of care includes such things as how your loved one will be assisted by the staff, employee schedules, types of medication or equipment needed, and anything else that may have been covered when meeting with the hospice representative.
Planning ahead can make a world of difference for a loved one who’s been diagnosed with a terminal illness. As a family member or caregiver, one of the best things you can do is assist with finding the right hospice provider to ensure your loved one feels at peace and comfortable. At Sytsema Funeral & Cremation Services, we take pride in spending time with families to make sure their end-of-life wishes are met. If you or your loved one would like to speak with one of our staff about hospice care and next steps, contact us online or give us a call at 231-726-5210 or 616-842-6100.