Caring for an elderly loved one or someone with a life-limiting illness can be difficult and emotional. You are more likely to suffer information overload, from juggling doctor appointments to learning about your loved one’s disease. When a cure is no longer an option or the treatment burden becomes too much, a hospice provider steps in to offer medical care and manage pain and symptoms for improved quality of life.
Beyond meeting your loved one’s medical needs, hospice care also provides emotional and spiritual support for the patient and the caregiver. This removes the burden of daily care by taking care of all personal care tasks, such as bathing, ensuring your loved one is well taken care of and is comfortable. It’s crucial to choose a reputable hospice provider like Husky Senior Care for your loved one. However, selecting the best hospice provider can be challenging, considering the myriad available choices. Here are a few essential tips to help you find the right hospice provider to care for your loved one:
1. Seek recommendations
One of the easiest and most effective ways to find a great hospice provider for your older adult is through recommendations from trusted friends, family members, and health practitioners. Sometimes, your patient’s physician provides you with a list of hospice providers in your area to choose from after referring your loved one to hospice care. Be sure you consider their recommendations first, as they usually refer patients to these providers and often get feedback about the quality of care and customer service.
Consider asking people you know and trust for referrals. Visit the recommended hospice providers in person and inquire more information about their services. Ask the providers you’re considering if their care teams have the necessary training and certifications to provide hospice care for patients. Inquire how they track and measure the quality of their service to help you know how seriously they take their performance and work.
2. Ensure they have an inpatient unit
The best hospice provider should have an in-house hospice care facility or have arrangements with inpatient centers, hospitals, or hospice houses. Since hospice care will be provided from your home, you must ensure that the inpatient hospice care facilities are located around your home. This can come in handy if symptoms become too much to be effectively managed at home or when you decide to give yourself or your family a break.
The provider you’re considering should serve your loved one at home and have multiple branch offices with a separate on-call nurse serving each one. Ensure that the on-call nurse serving your area also lives within your locality. This can help avoid waiting long for help if you have a crisis on weekends, holidays, or in the middle of the night. Your loved one will be given the care and attention they need no matter the day or time.
3. Check for Medicare approval
Apart from checking that the hospice provider you’re looking at has multiple inpatient hospice facilities in your local area, you also need to ensure that they are certified by Medicare. While most hospices are usually Medicare-certified, it’s always advisable to double-check before signing any contracts. This is crucial when choosing a hospice provider since they must have Medicare approval before services and fees are covered. Make sure the coverage provided includes home health aides, necessary equipment, and grief and counseling support for your loved one and your family. However, your older adult can only benefit from the coverage if enrolled in Medicare.
Sometimes, Medicare Advantage plans and some private insurers may require you to take your loved one to one of their preferred providers, with which the insurer has negotiated rates. Inquire if the inpatient care is Medicare-covered or if you will be responsible for covering the payment out-of-pocket. This is especially vital in case your loved one needs inpatient care. Visit the inpatient care facility to ensure it’s located in an easily accessible location, and you’re comfortable with the quality and level of care offered.
You need to confirm how long the provider you’re considering has been in business. This is important because choosing a hospice provider that has been established longer in your local area means they are more experienced in providing hospice care. They are more likely to have a seamless business operation, and you can expect to get quality care. They should also be willing to provide you with references and reviews from past customers.
4. Explore Supportive Services
Check that the hospice provider you’re considering educates families and caregivers on providing hospice care at home. Ensure that they also offer training on using medical equipment at home. Their program should include integrated services, such as massage therapy, music therapy, and the care team should also be available to discuss advance care planning and directives.
If your older adult or a loved one has a life-limiting illness, hospice care may be the best way to improve their quality of life and continue living life to the fullest extent possible. This allows you to spend more time with your loved ones and enjoy the things you love doing together. However, not all hospice providers are created the same, making choosing the right provider for your loved one a daunting task. Some hospices provide excellent care, while others are known for negative experiences. While family, friends, and doctors may give you several suggestions, you’re the one to decide on your ideal hospice provider. Following the tips above can make choosing the best hospice provider for your loved one hassle-free.
After you’ve shortlisted several hospice providers, contact them via the phone or visit their offices to know more about the level and quality of care they offer and whether they’re Medicare certified. This can help you gather some important facts about the provider you can use to determine whether they are the best option for your older adult. Ensure your chosen hospice provider offers 24/7 on-call help, and their care services include spiritual and emotional support for your loved one and your family.