You should be thorough in searching for the best hospice care provider for you or your loved ones. Your physician, case manager, and hospital discharge planner can help you, but you would still want to be involved in the search as much as possible.
The law mandates that all hospice care providers deliver the same set of basic services to their clients. If this is the case, how do you determine which provider best suits your needs? This article will discuss factors you must consider when looking for a hospice care provider.
1 – Accreditation
When looking for a hospice care provider, your first consideration should be accreditation from a reputable organization. Accreditation helps guarantee that the provider meets a certain quality standard and patient care.
A hospice care provider with genuine accreditation has passed a thorough review of its policies, procedures, and practices to ensure it delivers high-quality care to patients.
Moreover, this review helps determine if the hospice complies with state and federal regulations.
Two of the most well-known accrediting organizations for hospice care are the following:
● Joint Commission – an independent, non-profit organization that conducts on-site reviews to evaluate hospice compliance with national standards. It accredits and certifies 21,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the US.
● National Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) – a national accrediting body for hospice and palliative care providers. Their accreditation process ensures hospices meet specific standards for hospice care.
The Joint Commission and the NHPCO are not the only reputable accrediting organizations for providing hospice care. However, hospices accredited by these organizations can give patients and their families peace of mind. They will know the provider underwent evaluation for quality service and compliance, whether selecting in-home hospice care or inpatient care.
2 – Services
Aside from the basic services mandated by law, hospices offer a variety of services that might interest you. To confirm a provider meets you or your loved one’s needs and goes above and beyond, look for the following services:
● Pain management and symptom control
● Medical care
● Emotional and spiritual support
● Bereavement counseling
● In-home care
● Respite care
● Palliative care
● Caregiver support
It is up to you to determine which services you need, but remember that a hospice care provider might not offer all the services that interest you. Look for a provider that can take care of all your needs.
3 – Staff
Being under hospice care indicates you hand the responsibility of you or your loved one’s welfare to people who are not your family. Given that hospice care is centered on patient comfort and quality of life, it remains critical that you find a hospice with a dedicated and compassionate team of healthcare professionals.
Additionally, patients and their families need understanding and empathy, so it becomes important to have caregivers who can provide emotional and psychological support while still fulfilling all medical needs.
4 – Care Plan
At its core, hospice care for every patient are similar to one another, but they are never exactly the same. You want to find a hospice care provider that can create an individualized care plan tailored to meet the unique needs of you or your loved one.
A care plan is vital because it outlines patient needs, goals, and treatment plans. A good hospice care provider regularly reviews and updates care plans to ensure relevance and efficiency.
5 – Reputation
Accreditations from reputable organizations mean a hospice care provider has passed a certain standard, but that does not mean the provider is perfect. If you want a better idea of how a hospice operates, you need to research its reputation. You can read reviews of the provider online or ask for testimonials from other patients and their families.
6 – Location and Coverage
You may find a hospice care provider with all the prestigious accreditations and offers all the services you need, but if it is too far from home, it is not a good choice. The distance between the patient and the hospice will affect the access to care and the cost.
It is also significant to look at a provider’s coverage to determine if your insurance can cover patient care and how much you need to pay out of your pocket. If your insurance does not cover your chosen provider, you will need to transfer the patient, causing unnecessary stress.
7- Family Involvement
A good hospice care provider is trustworthy and involves the families of patients. Hospices employ healthcare professionals to pinpoint the medical care needed by patients, but their families know them the best. Only settle for a hospice that allows the entire family to be involved in the care, support, and decision-making process.
The primary objective of hospice or palliative care is to minimize suffering among people with terminal illnesses. Similar to choosing the right health insurance plan, it is a complex endeavor that involves many considerations. By looking into the factors discussed above, it will be easier to find a hospice care provider to meet your needs best and deliver the highest quality of care for you or your loved one.
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