How to Find Good Hospice Care

How to find good hospice careA January 27, 2015 article in the Washington Post, Health & Science section, answered the questions 'Are all hospices the same?' and 'How do I find a good hospice?'. More and more hospice organizations are for-profit, with 65% being for-profit as opposed to only 34% in 2000. Consumers should do a thorough amount of research when choosing a hospice.

Geriatric care managers can be a good source for recommendations.

Some things to check for when talking to each provider:

  • Frequency of visits (usually an aide visits about 3x/week and a doctor/nurse 1x/week)
  • Certification in palliative care
  • In a crisis situation, the provider should be able to come any time/any day, and arrive quickly
  • A nearby inpatient facility if needed
  • Find out how new, curable health problems¬†are handled
  • Family members' responsibilities - bathing, injections, medications
  • Availability of respite care for family members
  • Accreditation - only 40% of hospices are accredited
  • More established (older than 10 years), larger hospices (over 80 patients/day) are likely to have more resources and experience than smaller, newer hospices
  • A 'live discharge rate' of 10-20% - this rate is the % of people who leave hospice care before dying; a high rate of departures may indicate that patients were not satisfied with the care they received