Choosing a Hospice


You may be in the process of deciding how to provide the most appropriate care for your loved one and where you can make this happen. There is more than likely a number of hospice facilities to choose from. It is important to know what services and programs the hospice facility offers. If there is more than one facility that serves your area, it may be a good idea to make an appointment to tour and visit with the staff. You as the caregiver have to make sure that the hospice care is going to fully benefit the patient’s needs.

Here is a list of questions that can help you identify factors that are important when making the most appropriate decision for the patient and your family when selecting a hospice care facility in your area.

  • Is the hospice Medicare certified?

  • Will the hospice be covered under the patient’s current private medical insurance plan?

  • Has the hospice been surveyed by a state or federal oversight agency in the last five years?

  • Is the organization a NHPCO member and does it comply with all aspects of NHPCO’s Standards for Hospice Programs?

  • Is the hospice accredited by a national organization?

  • Does the hospice provide the services needed for the patient’s pain or symptoms management?

  • Are volunteer services offered and what are the qualifications to become a volunteer?

  • Is the staff available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?

  • Are the clinical staff (physicians, nurses, social workers) certified or credentialed in hospice and palliative care?

  • Does the hospice provide services or programs to family after the patient’s passing?

  • What type of community involvement does the hospice participate in?

These are just some of the questions you may have when searching for hospice care. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has a full list of questions available for print. Click here.

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