When a terminal diagnosis is given and the doctor recommends hospice, what should be your next step? For almost all patients, family members and close friends, there are moments of tears and sadness—even if the patient has been ill for a long time. But then the recommendation needs to be addressed.
The doctor may give contact information for one or more hospice care agencies. She or he may refer the patient to a hospice affiliated with her or his medical group. But patients and families are free to choose their own hospice organization.
We suggest that you seek information about hospice organizations. The patient and caregiver(s) should collaborate on a decision. But, whichever agency you select, we encourage you to connect with a hospice care agency as soon as possible. The patient may be relatively comfortable and in need of only minimal care today, but those situations can change literally overnight. It’s best to have a hospice agency engaged before the need is critical.
Some questions to ask as you talk to hospice agency representatives:
- How many visits does the patient receive each week?
- Is the hospice an independent agency or part of a multi-state organization?
- Does the hospice have testimonials from families of previous patients?
- Who are the hospice’s non-medical team members? (Social worker, chaplain, massage therapist, etc.)
- Does the agency furnish supplies other than medications? Such as adult diapers, if needed?
- How easy is it to reach hospice personnel on weekends and overnight?
- How responsive is hospice staff to problems and complaints?
Don’t be shy about asking these questions. At Hope Hospice we are eager to answer any and all questions about the services we provide. We know that the more you know about hospice and about Hope Hospice, the more likely you and your loved ones will be satisfied with the decision that is made.