Questions to Ask About Hospice and Home Care

Nov 5 • 2015

When a loved one has an advanced illness, it may be difficult to choose hospice care. Hospice care is designed to provide support and focuses on helping to maintain the patient’s quality of life. The medical staff works to provide a wide range of comfort measures that can help put the patient and his family at ease.

“One of the biggest misconceptions about hospice is that care completely stops,” said Rod Robinson, assistant administrator of home care and hospice at Baptist Memorial Health Care. “They may not be there to cure anymore, but they still treat the symptoms going on with the patient. We still want to keep the patient comfortable and help the family with the transition time.”

Once you have decided that hospice is the right choice for your loved one, it is important to evaluate your options. “The facility should provide every aspect of hospice care,” Robinson said. “Confirm that the care can be provided at the home and that they have contact with an affiliated hospital in case the patient needs a higher level of care.”

Asking the right questions about hospice may help make your decision easier. When interviewing the hospice care provider, be sure to inquire:

  • How long the facility has been operating
  • Whether it is Medicare-certified, accredited, and state-licensed
  • Treatment limits
  • Detailed questions around the patient’s current needs
  • Any extra services they offer
  • How they respond to a crisis
  • The options they provide for inpatient and respite care
  • How they work with family members to address questions and concerns
  • What certifications their medical staff holds
  • Any grief support services they provide

Be sure to speak with friends and family members, as well as look online, to find reviews others have shared about the facility. You can even ask for references. It is also important that when you meet face-to-face, you personally feel comfortable with the environment and staff.