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Choosing a Hospice

Choosing a hospice is a very important decision. While all hospice programs may have the same basic philosophy of care, each is different in some ways. Hospice programs are very willing to answer questions and assist in determining which hospice can best meet the needs of a particular patient and family.

Following are some of the questions you might ask to assist you in making a decision about hospice care.  

  • What services does the hospice program provide?
  • Will the program cover the cost of the patient’s medications? (Provide a list of the patient’s medications)?
  • How many times per week will a nurse and other hospice staff visit?
  • Are home health aides readily available from the hospice?
  • How many hours of home health aide support can be expected each week?
  • Who is the hospice physician and will he/she work with the patient’s physician to provide care?
  • What facilities does the hospice use for inpatient care?
  • What facilities does the hospice use for respite care?
  • Will volunteers be assigned?
  • How many hours of support from volunteers can be expected each week?
  • If palliative treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy, or blood transfusions are needed for symptom control, does the hospice provide this therapy?
  • If the patient or family is unhappy with any aspect of the program, what will be done to address the problem?
  • If this hospice program is chosen, how soon can services be started?
  • What support does this hospice provide to the family after the patient dies?
  • What does the hospice admission process include?
  • How does the hospice manage pain?
  • How are families involved in the patient’s care?
  • Who handles the paperwork for the insurance billing?

“How to choose” questions listed above were included on the website of Florida Hospices and Palliative Care, Inc. and are reprinted with permission.