A recent item posted on the New Old Age blog on the New York Times website offers guidance on selecting a hospice. Naomi Naierman of the American Hospice Foundation was interviewed and shared her thoughts.
“You have to become a very savvy consumer about what is likely to be the most important health care decision you make in your life,” she says.
She advises asking direct questions to hospice representatives. She says, “How receptive a hospice is to these questions is the first signal of their quality.”
“Hospices in some communities come and go. You want to be sure you’re not signing up with one that’s been around a few months or even a year.” (Hope Hospice is beginning its 8th year of operation in metro St. Louis.)
To those who might presume that all hospices are alike, she adds, “There’s a set of services that’s standard, but how much, what the intensity is — that varies a lot. Consumers need to know that.”
Regarding respite care, Naierman suggests, “It’s also a good question to ask: What kind of respite care do you offer, under what circumstances?”
Paula Span, who conducted the interview and wrote the piece, mentions, “It will be difficult for patients or families to undertake this research if they’ve waited until a few days before death. It sounds like another argument for enrolling in hospice early.”
Among the comments posted by readers, this one sums up the feelings of many survivors: “I am glad we called in hospice early, because [my husband] spent the last few months of his life in his own home, in familiar surroundings, cared for by family with support from hospice staff.”
At Hope Hospice we welcome your questions about hospice care, even if your need may be weeks, months or years away. Call us at 314-984-9800.
Hope Hospice serves patients and families in St. Louis city and county and in St. Charles, Jefferson and Franklin counties.