Deciding on a Hospice

Best Hospice Care of Texas is here to help.

We understand that deciding on hospice can seem overwhelming. Below is a list of questions and answers to help you navigate the process.

Anytime is a good time to discuss care options.
You don’t have to wait for your physician or hospital to raise the possibility of hospice you can raise it first.
Our staff is available to answer any questions you may have.
A consultation can be arranged by calling our office.

It’s Simple! We contact the patient’s physician to make sure he or she agrees that hospice care is appropriate for this patient at this time.

The patient is asked to sign consent and insurance forms.

Any number of family or friends can be involved. It is never easy and sometimes can be quite difficult. Individualized care plans are prepared that address the amount of caregiving a person needs. Care needs are based on the individual’s level of function.

Hospice staff visits regularly and is always accessible to answer questions and provide support Though family and friends must be relied on to give custodial care (ongoing physical care), volunteers are provided to help with errands and provide a break and time away for primary caregivers. It may not be necessary for someone to be with the patient at all times. Later, however, hospice generally recommends someone be there continuously since one of the most common fears of patients is the fear of dying alone.

Hospices have staff available to consult with the family and to make night visits as appropriate. Respite Care can be arranged to give family members a break.

Be familiar with legal documents before and after you decide to use hospice care, some of these documents require legal counsel.

Know your rights as a patient Medical Durable Power of Attorney (MDPOA) states that if you become incapacitated this signed document gives authority to an adult at least 18 years of age to make necessary medical and health care decisions for you. Complete a Living Will.

Hospice patients are cared for by a team, which consists of doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, home health aides, clergy, therapists, and volunteers. Hospices help provide medications, supplies, equipment, hospital services and additional helpers in the home as appropriate.

Hospice does not provide 24-hour care in the home unless there is a crisis which constitutes temporary around-the-clock care. Most hospice services are delivered in a personal residence, but some patients do live in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, hospitals or hospice centers.

Hospice nurses and doctors are up to date on the latest medications and devices for pain and symptom relief. Counselors, including clergy, are available to assist family members as well as patients. By using some combination of medications, counseling and therapies, most patients can attain a level of comfort that is acceptable to them.

It is the goal of hospice to help patients be as comfortable and alert as they desire.

Hospice provides continuing contact and support for family and friends for at least one year following the death of a loved one.

Some hospices also sponsor bereavement and support groups for anyone in the community who has experienced the death of a family member, a friend or a loved one.

The first thing hospice will do is assist families in finding out whether the patient is eligible for any coverage they may not be aware of.

Most hospices will provide care for those who cannot pay, using money raised from the community or from memorial or foundation gifts.

Medicare covers all services and supplies related to the terminal illness for the hospice patient.

In some hospices, the patient may be required to pay a 5 percent or $5 ?co-payment? on medication and a 5 percent co-payment for respite care. You should find out about any co-payment when choosing a hospice.

Choosing from the Hospice Options

It’s important to find out about the services that each hospice offers. If there are several hospices in your area, we encourage you to interview and speak with a few and/or ask your healthcare provider if they have recommendations for selecting a hospice. Be sure to communicate to your physician if you decide to request services from a particular hospice.

Below are a few questions to help identify factors that may be important to you and your family when selecting the best hospice care.

Get references both from people you know and from people in the field ? e.g., local hospitals, nursing homes, clinicians.

Longevity is a good indication of stability.

Medicare certification is essential if the patient is a Medicare beneficiary to permit reimbursement.

Accreditation is not required and not having it doesn’t mean a hospice isn’t good, but if the hospice has it, then you can rest assured a third party has looked at the hospice’s operations and determined they come up to a reasonable standard of care.

See if what the hospice expects from family members is consistent with what you’re able to provide.

Is there anything currently being done for the patient that this hospice would not be able to do?

Mention any concerns the family or patient have about care and ask how they will address those concerns.

Some services fall in a gray area. They are not required by Medicare but may be helpful to improve the comfort of a patient. An example is radiation and/or chemotherapy for a cancer patient to reduce the size of a tumor and ameliorate pain. Some hospices would not be able to afford to do this but others with deeper pockets could.

If the family needs someone to come to the home at 3AM on a Saturday, where would that person come from? What is their average response time?

Patients being cared for at home may need to go to an inpatient unit for management of complicated symptoms or to give their family respite. Facilities can vary from the hospice having its own private inpatient unit to leased beds in a hospital or nursing home. Visit the facilities to ensure that they are conveniently located and that you are comfortable with what they offer.

Is there a clear process for sharing concerns with appropriate hospice staff and making sure they are addressed?

Types of grief support can vary widely and may include individual counseling, support groups, educational materials and outreach letters.

Have Questions?

Contact us for more information today