When your loved one is diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, it can be difficult to know what their next steps should be. Part of what makes this time so difficult is that hospice care is oftentimes seen as a last resort. However, hospice care can be an incredible resource for both patients and their families. Choosing the right hospice care provider is crucial in ensuring your loved one receives the best possible care. Here are a few things to keep in mind when making this decision.
Hospice Care Services
Hospice care is a type of health care that focuses on providing comfort and support to patients and their families during the end of life. It can be provided in different settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and at home. Depending on your needs and preferences, you and your loved one can choose from a wide array of hospice care services. The usual hospice care team is composed of doctors, nurses, social workers, and volunteers who work in unison to provide the best possible care.
In-home Hospice Care
If you and your loved one prefer to receive care in the comfort of your own home, in-home hospice care may be the best option. In-home hospice care teams will work with you to create a custom care plan that meets your loved one’s needs. These care plans typically include pain and symptom management, as well as emotional and spiritual support.
It’s critical that you hire a registered hospice nurse to ensure that your loved one is receiving the best possible care. They must have extensive training in palliative and hospice care, which means they are qualified to face the distinctive problems associated with caring for a terminally ill patient. Not only do hospice care teams have registered nurses, but they also generally have social workers. Social workers are an amazing support system during trying times like these; they can help with the mass of decisions that need to be made and connect you to other helpful resources in the community.
In-facility Hospice Care
Suppose you prefer to receive care in a facility. In that case, there are a few different types of hospice care facilities to choose from. Hospice hospitals are staffed 24 hours a day and offer around-the-clock nursing care and pain management. Hospice units in nursing homes provide the same level of care as hospice hospitals, but they also have the added benefit of being located in a familiar setting. Inpatient hospice facilities offer short-term care for patients who need more intensive treatment. These facilities typically have medical directors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and volunteers on staff.
For families with loved ones in a hospice care facility, it is still possible to receive respite care. This type of care is typically provided by volunteers who are specially trained in hospice care. Respite care allows you to take a break from your caregiving duties while knowing that your loved one is in good hands.
Choosing the Right Provider
There are a number of things to keep in mind when choosing a hospice care provider. First and foremost, you want to make sure that the provider you select is accredited by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). You should also inquire about the provider’s experience caring for patients with your loved one’s specific condition.
When looking for the best care provider, it’s critical to consider a number of variables. You should understand the provider’s background, how long they’ve been in business, and whether they hire their own staff to give care. Furthermore, you should know what services are available through the service provider and what is covered in your care plan. It’s also crucial to know if they offer all four levels of hospice care (inpatient, respite, continuous, and home-based care) and whether they have the equipment, medicines, and supplies required for the terminal illness.
Lastly, you will want to ensure that the provider offers the services that your loved one needs, such as pain management or spiritual support. You will want to make sure that you feel comfortable communicating with the provider and that they are open to hearing your questions and concerns.
The end of life can be a difficult time for both patients and their families. Hospice care can be an invaluable resource during this time; however, it is important to choose the right provider. Make sure to do your research and ask plenty of questions so that you can find a provider who will offer your loved one the best possible care during this difficult time.