Your Hospice Checklist
While the journey to selecting hospice care can be emotionally taxing, having a checklist can help bring clarity and ensure the best care for your loved one.
1. Initial Considerations:
- Diagnosis and Eligibility: Confirm that your loved one has a prognosis of six months or less if the disease runs its natural course.
- Personal Preferences: Discuss with the patient their desires and expectations from hospice care.
- Location: Determine where the care will be administered – at home, in a nursing facility, hospice center, etc.
2. Research and Selection:
- Accreditation: Ensure the hospice provider is licensed and accredited by a nationally recognized organization.
- References and Reviews: Check for references, testimonials, or reviews about the provider.
- Visit: If possible, visit the hospice facility or meet with the hospice team to get a first-hand feel of the environment and care.
- Specialized Care: Check if the hospice provider offers specialized care for specific diseases or conditions.
3. Services Offered:
- Interdisciplinary Team: Confirm that the hospice has a team comprising physicians, nurses, therapists, counselors, and spiritual advisors.
- 24/7 Availability: Ensure that medical professionals are accessible 24/7 for emergencies or concerns.
- Bereavement Support: Check if they offer grief support and counseling for families after the passing of the patient.
- Therapy Services: Inquire about physical, occupational, or speech therapies if needed.
- Spiritual Support: If important to the patient, ensure spiritual guidance is part of the care program.
4. Financial Considerations:
- Insurance Coverage: Clarify what services are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance.
- Out-of-Pocket Costs: Discuss potential out-of-pocket expenses, so there are no financial surprises down the line.
- Financial Assistance: If necessary, inquire if the hospice offers financial assistance or a sliding fee scale for families.
5. Personalized Care Plan:
- Tailored Care: Ensure that the hospice provider develops a care plan tailored to the specific needs and wishes of the patient.
- Frequency of Visits: Clarify how often the hospice team will visit the patient.
- Medication and Equipment: Discuss how medication administration and medical equipment needs will be addressed.
6. Ongoing Communication:
- Regular Updates: Ensure that the hospice team commits to providing regular updates on the patient’s condition.
- Open Dialogue: Establish open lines of communication for any concerns or adjustments to the care plan.
- End-of-Life Wishes: If not already done, discuss and document the patient’s end-of-life wishes and any advance directives.
7. Emotional and Psychological Support:
- Support Groups: Inquire if the provider offers support groups for patients and families.
- Counseling Services: Ensure that counseling or therapy is available for patients and families, if needed.
8. Final Preparations:
- Legal and Financial Affairs: Ensure that all legal and financial matters of the patient are in order.
- Personal Wishes: Discuss any personal wishes the patient might have for their final days, including visits, spiritual rites, or other personal requests.