How to Choose a Hospice Provider - Ascension Wisconsin

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How to Choose a Hospice Provider

Choosing hospice services can be an emotional and difficult decision. Gathering the right information can help make your decision easier.

First of all, be sure to understand your needs or the the needs of a loved one. Next, know what to ask when you talk to representatives from a hospice program and when you talk with your doctor.

Here are a list of questions to ask both hospice providers and your doctor.

Questions to Ask Hospice Providers

  • Does the hospice offer services for all ages?
  • Is the hospice program Medicare certified?
  • Does the hospice accept payment from Medicare and Medicaid?
  • Does the hospice have a list of its fees and services?
  • Can the hospice help you find financial help if you need it?
  • How does hospice train and manage its staff?
  • Does a Case Manager oversee the care provided?
  • Are the hospice associates licensed?
  • Does the hospice have volunteers who visit the patient at home?
  • Does an independent group like The Joint Commission review the hospice program?
  • Will the hospice create a care plan just for you or your loved one? (You and your hospice professional should agree on the services the patient will receive, how often the visits will take place, and how long treatment will last.)
  • Does a nurse or therapist conduct an initial visit and review the type of care the patient needs at home?
  • Are family members, doctors or other health care professionals involved in this review?
  • If medical equipment like a hospital bed, oxygen or wheel chair is needed, will the hospice teach the patient or responsible family members how to use the equipment in the home?
  • Does the hospice explain the patient’s rights and responsibilities?
  • How does the hospice make sure that each patient’s treatment remains confidential?
  • Does the hospice have a 24-hour telephone number you can call when you have questions, concerns or complaints?
  • What does the hospice recommend if there is no primary care person?
  • What does the hospice do to manage pain?
  • What if the patient needs to go to the hospital?
  • Will hospice involve your clergy?
  • Does the hospice provide respite care if we need it?
  • What if the patient does not want death to occur at home?
  • Does the hospice provide bereavement support?
  • Will my doctor remain involved in my care?

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

When you’re considering next steps in treatment and care for yourself or a loved one with a terminal illness, it’s important to talk to your physician about your options. He or she can help you decide what type of care is best.

  • How do you expect my condition to change in the next year?
  • What symptoms might I experience?
  • How might it change my ability to go about my daily routine or care for myself?
  • What are my options for care?
  • What is the purpose of any treatment I am considering? Will it cure my illness or slow it down? Is the treatment focused on managing my symptoms?
  • How will this treatment affect the length of my life? The quality of that time?
  • Will the treatment make me feel sick?
  • Will it cause my pain to increase or decrease?
  • How will it affect other parts of my body?
  • How have other people responded to this treatment?
  • How long will the treatment continue?
  • How will it affect my ability to care for myself?
  • What other treatment choices could I consider?
  • What do my family/friends need to know about my illness and treatment?
  • What kinds of help might be useful? Home health care? Hospice care?

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