The Deciding Factors When Choosing Hospice Care for Seniors

Over 56 million Americans are older than 65, and this number will grow to over 73.1 million in 2030. Aging is an inevitable process we all grow through, and sadly, health problems can grow until they’re unmanageable.

At the end of your life, you want to be comfortable and safe. So whether it’s for you or your aging parents, you need to select home care services for seniors you can trust to deliver quality care.

Read on to see what you should consider when opting for hospice care.


Determine the Type of Hospice Care Needed

Most people think of a facility when referring to hospice care, but other options are available too.

One alternative is home hospice care, where medical professionals come to the senior’s home for services. You and other family members may still need to help with some basic tasks, like bathing and grooming your loved one.

Another option is hospital-based care. It’s almost identical to a standalone facility, but as the name suggests, you’d stay in a hospital.

Hospice care in a standalone facility means all staff is trained in this type of care. The medical staff at Three Oaks Hospice recommends facility care since you can receive palliative care before switching to hospice care. As a result, you can benefit from symptom management and quality of life improvement earlier on.

Every option has its own pros and cons, so it’s important to discuss them with the person needing hospice care.

Make Sure the Hospice Has Proper Accreditation and Certification

Hospices aren’t required by law to be accredited and certified. However, you’ll want to stick to those that do, as it proves that they’re willing to go above and beyond for their patients.

If a hospice has national accreditation, then this indicates that they’ve met quality standards. Look for ones from organizations such as:

  • Accreditation Commission for Health Center
  • Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations
  • Community Health Accreditation Program

Plus, Medicare certification shows that they follow Medicare rules and regulations. This is especially important if you receive Medicare hospice benefits; it’ll relieve your financial burden. 

Even if you’re not getting these Medicare benefits, it’s good to pick a hospice that’s Medicare certified since it proves they have rigorous standards.

The Medical Staff Should Be Certified and Licensed Too

The doctors and nurses need to be board-certified and licensed in addition to having many years of experience. They’re the ones providing crucial care, after all.

More specifically, they should be trained and certified in palliative care. This will give you peace of mind that the medical professionals will focus on improving your quality of life with symptom control and pain management. 

More importantly, they’ll know how to work with loved ones to prepare them for the death of their beloved senior. This can make their passing a little easier.

While you’re checking these things, double-check that the hospice hires its own staff. If they contract with other agencies, you may run into issues, so it’s best to avoid those hospices.

Check Their Experience and Reputation

You’ll want to choose a hospice provider that’s been in business for numerous years. This proves that they’ve worked hard to uphold their reputation, meaning the chances of receiving top-quality care are high. This also indicates that they’ve perfected all the behind-the-scenes processes, resulting in a polished experience for their patients.

But experience doesn’t automatically mean a hospice is excellent. Check that their reputation is stellar by seeing if they’ve had any violations. If so, have they been corrected?

You can also ask your current doctor what they think about the hospice provider, as well as your case manager or other physicians. Reputable providers will gladly refer you to other families who have used their services or are currently doing so. You can speak with them and read family satisfaction survey scores too.

Ask About the Care Plans

For the best care possible, you’ll want to pick a hospice provider that offers individualized care plans. Not only that, but patients should receive their own interdisciplinary team that’ll cater to their needs.

Not only should the care plans be tailored to every patient, but they should also be developed quickly. When a patient needs hospice care, they don’t have much time left, so every second matters. Providers that can start the admissions process and care within a few hours of contact (even on nights and weekends) are what you should look for.

On that note, ask about the crisis response time as well. Some providers have limited or no support on nights, weekends, and holidays. If this doesn’t sit well with you, opt for one that has fast crisis response, no matter when the emergency is.

Visit the Facilities if Applicable

If in-home care isn’t for you, then make sure you tour the facilities before making a decision. Keep in mind that loved ones will probably want to visit, so a convenient location is a huge plus.

While visiting, take note of how the facility looks, both on the outside and inside. Cleanliness shows that the staff cares about upkeep and maintenance.

Also, check out the staff-patient interactions. Do the staff members appear friendly, compassionate, and kind? And do the patients seem comfortable and looked after?

You can even speak to the staff yourself. Trust your gut instincts; if they come off as impatient and cold, then it’s probably not a good place to stay.

Choose a Good Hospice Care Provider

It’s tough to admit that you need hospice care, as it means you’ll need to say goodbye to your loved ones in the near future. But if you plan ahead and know how to choose good hospice care for seniors, then the transition will be smooth and easy.

So don’t wait until it’s too late. If you or the senior in your life has a terminal illness, discuss your options for hospice care now. Knowing your options will decrease stress for everyone.

For more advice on family matters, keep reading our blog page.