How to Choose the Hospice Agency That’s Right for You

Post by admin | November 14, 2018

Having to choose a hospice for you or a loved one can be a stressful and emotionally draining experience. With so many hospices to choose from, and with so many offering similar services, it can be hard to choose the right fit for you or your loved one. While choosing a hospice agency is up to you, we have put together some tips to help guide you to picking the right hospice care in Los Angeles for you or your loved one. Hopefully these tips will guide you in the right direction to picking a hospice to accommodate your needs

Size/Census

Hospices exist in varying sizes. Many hospice agencies can cover vast geographic areas and may have sub-parts. There are the very large national companies  that care for thousands of patients down to the smaller hospice agencies which are often time family owned and operated and may have as few a 30 – 40 patients and cover a small geographic area. The right one for you largely depends on what you want from your hospice experience. If you want a hospice that is more corporate and standardized, then a larger agency may be right for you. If you want a more personalized hospice experience, where you can mold the care to meet you specific needs, where field and office personnel will know you by name, then a smaller hospice agency may provide more flexibility in their services.

Certifications

You want to make sure any hospice agency that you are considering is well qualified. A hospice program is accredited through organizations like the Community Health Accreditation Program and the Joint Commission. These two organizations seek to gauge a hospice agencies quality of care and how it measures up to standard operating procedure. Though if a hospice agency doesn’t have these accreditation that doesn’t mean that they are wholly unprepared and inadequate. That could just mean they have seeked these accreditation as of yet.

Referrals

As with many different things, the best way to find the hospice agency that’s right for you may be through asking around. A friend or family member may know of a great hospice agency for you to use. Asking around for a hospice agency may seem like an awkward thing to do, but it can be a really good way to find a great hospice agency. Researching a hospice agency online and reading some of their reviews is another way to gauge if an agency would be right for you.

 

Meet With A Few Agencies

To really determine which hospice agency you want to go with, you should sit down and interview a few. You should prepare a list of questions and concerns that you have for the agency. It’s important to ask good questions here as the answers can tell you a lot about the hospice agency and those who work at it. You want to be sure to ask about how plans of care are developed, how pain will be managed by the hospice and  what things they can and can’t do. You should also consider how you feel around the hospice. You don’t necessarily have to be friends, but they should be friendly, professional and trustworthy. If they’re not then that is definitely a sign that you should choose another hospice agency.

Compare Hospice Agencies

After meeting with various agencies and learning about each in regards to what they offer and the types of care they provide, it is a good idea to then reflect on all the info that has be learned. It can be a bit overwhelming, we recommend that some time is set aside after meeting with all the agencies to weigh each against one another. Look at what each one offers, this will help in figuring out which is the best fit for you or a loved one. Similarly, identify the pros and cons based on all the information you have found such as referrals, certifications, and the impression that was given once meeting with them.

Questions to ask the Hospice Agency

Some questions may be based on affordability, such as whether or not that particular agency accepts your insurance. Other questions can be aimed at learning about the program as a whole, such as how long the agency has been providing care or what types of services are provided? Questions should also address you or the loved one, these being whether the agency is available after business hours or if the patient will have the same nurse or team. These are meant as a starting point, but know that whatever question you may have you should ask. This care is all about you or the loved one.

Who to Contact to Get Your Questions Answered

The best possible way to have all of your questions answered is to ask the hospice agencies themselves in order to receive the most accurate information. You can contact them by visiting their website and calling them, or by getting their numbers by your healthcare providers. Keep in mind that although agencies deliver the same types of care, they are all different in ways and have different ways of operating. One may have a totally different answer than another so it is important that each question is answered by each hospice care provider that you are considering.

 

Hospice Agency Ratings

This will aid in comparing the various agencies that you are considering. You should not only look into their certifications and listen to referrals from friends, family, and health care professionals, but search for their ratings as well. By doing a quick search, agencies appear with various star ratings and reviews from other patients and families that have used that provider previously. This is a great way to see whether the hospice agency meets its claims and whether it is a great place to receive care from. Those with lower star ratings should be avoided as better places are available.

Google Search

The easiest way to find a quick list of hospice agencies and their reviews is by searching “Hospices in (where ever you live)”. Doing this will give you a handful or more of options that are in your area. Then, on the same page is the option to see their star rating and once clicking on that, an entire list of reviews are at your disposal to judge whether or not that hospice care provider is of high quality and a good fit for you or a loved on.

Hand holding tablet pc against instructor performing yoga with seniors

Medicare Hospice Compare

The Medicare website has a great tool for searching for different hospice programs in your area. You have two options to conduct the search. One is by typing in the particular agency you are considering, or if you are looking from scratch you type in your city, state, or zip code. You can add results to a compare list for easy comparison later on.