Determining that you or a loved one needs hospice care is a difficult realization. At that point, one of the most important decisions you have to make is trying to find a hospice program that meets your unique needs. This requires you to think about what those needs are and look into local hospice programs.
There are several things you need to think about if you’re trying to find a hospice program to use. Speaking to someone at the program and possibly talking to others who have had to use hospice might be beneficial. Consider this list of questions to get you started:
What Type of Care Does the Hospice Program Offer?
There are many types of hospice care that programs can offer. These include:
- Regular home hospice care: This involves regularly scheduled services from the patient’s care team to provide the patient with the best possible quality of life.
- Continual hospice care in the patient’s home: This includes bedside care around the clock when the patient needs it.
- Inpatient hospice care: This is intensive care in a facility or nursing home that’s set up for careful monitoring and symptom control that can’t be achieved at home.
- Respite care: This provides family caregivers with the breaks they need so they have time to care for themselves without worrying about the quality of care the patient is receiving.
Who’s Involved in the Patient’s End-of-Life Care?
A hospice care team involves many individuals, even if the patient only needs basic services. Medical social workers, home health aides, physicians, nurses and chaplains are all part of the PRN Hospice family. These team members work closely with each other and everyone involved in the patient’s care to ensure they have what they need during this trying time.
What Type of Training and Support is Offered to Family Caregivers?
The family members of the person who is in hospice will usually provide assistance caring for their loved one. The hospice team you work with should be able to train you to handle the care. This is sometimes intensive training, but it can also include assistance with daily tasks like helping you to learn the easiest and best way to sponge-bathe a patient who isn’t able to shower or bathe.
How Is the Hospice Patient’s Care Plan Set?
A hospice care plan guides the team as they take care of the patient. These plans are set by the medical team that’s working with the patient. It’s usually set when the person first enters the program, but it will likely need to be adjusted as the patient’s condition changes. Find out how the initial care plan is set and how any changes are handled.
What Are the Expectations for Family Caregivers?
The purpose of hospice services is to provide support to the patient and their family members. Most programs have expectations for the family caregivers, but these vary from one program to another. Make sure you know what the programs on your shortlist will expect from family caregivers so you can determine whether those expectations can be met.
How Are Medications, Medical Equipment and Supplies Handled?
Patients in hospice will have medications, equipment and supplies. Find out whether the hospice staff will order and deliver those or if you’ll have to do it. You may find it’s a mixed answer — the patient may be responsible for getting some items, while hospice may handle others. You should ask how long it will take for hospice to get the items to your home if the program takes care of it.
What’s the After-Hours Response Plan?
Some people who are in hospice only have scheduled care instead of around-the-clock care. It’s possible that issues will occur when no one from the program is at the home. Find out how these situations are handled. Ideally, you’ll find a hospice program with an easy way to report after-hours problems and a fast response time when assistance is necessary.
How Do Volunteers Work With Families?
Hospice volunteers play an important role in patient care. They can help with simple tasks around the home and provide companionship to the family. Volunteers can even accompany patients and their family members to activities.
What Type of Bereavement Program is Offered?
A hospice program focuses on the patient while that person is under its care. But we know the loved ones of our patients don’t automatically heal when the patient passes away. Because of this, PRN Hospice offers bereavement services for up to a year after the death of a patient. This time enables the family members to transition into their new way of life while still having the support of the team they’ve come to know and trust.
How Are Concerns About Care Handled?
Care concerns sometimes occur when a patient is working with a hospice provider. The hospice program should have a clear way for patients or their family members to voice those concerns. This can help keep the stress level down so the family members can enjoy the time they have with their loved one. Patients who work with PRN Hospice can expect impeccable care, but we know our patients want their concerns to be addressed.
Contact Us Today
PRN Hospice’s comprehensive hospice program can help you through this challenging time. Give us a call to learn more about our quality hospice program and find out how we can work with you to provide the compassionate care you deserve. Whether you’re the patient or the loved one of the patient, we work closely with you throughout your time with us.