What is Hospice? When is Hospice Needed?

Hospice care is defined as the "end of life" care that is provided to a terminally ill patient. Hospice care is holistic care in that it touches all aspects of a patient's care: medical, physical (pain management), emotional, and spiritual needs. The goal of hospice care is to provide comfort and dignity to the terminally ill patient and family. Hospice care services can be provided within a hospital, in a separate freestanding facility, in an assisted living, or in the patient’s home.

Determining the best placement and care for a hospice patient can be overwhelming for the hospice patient and their family members. It is a very difficult time to focus one's attention on the various services that hospice provides. With that in mind, finding a location where the hospice patient will feel comfortable is a priority. If the decision is for the hospice patient to remain in the home, then the family may want to arrange a "family conference" to determine what services each family member can provide. Bringing a calendar to a family conference and outlining dates and times each family member can help and what services they are offering can be an invaluable tool when speaking with hospice services.

If home hospice is not possible, then the family may want to seek community hospice resources. Depending upon the age of the patient, the family may want to place their loved one at a location with patients of similar age and needs. This may increase the chances that the staff there may have the unique skills to manage your loved ones care and needs.

What are the different types of hospice care?

1. Adult hospice
2. Prenatal hospice for a baby, who will die before or after birth
3. Pediatric hospice for children 1- 21 yrs of age
4. Faith based hospice programs
5. Community based hospice programs

What is the process for starting hospice?

Hospice care is ordered by a doctor when a patient is expected to live six months or less. A consultation visit by the hospice medical director typically takes place within 24-48 hours of the physician order.

The visit is for the medical director to certify that the patient is terminally ill and probably has less than 6 months to live. The patient, if able, must consent to accepting hospice care and forgo routine medical care.

Hospice care may be terminated if the patient experiences remission or reverses their decision on medical intervention.

How do I select the best hospice?

With thousands of hospice care providers across the United States, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. The key is to research your choices so you find a hospice that fits your needs and provides quality care. Below is a list of factors to consider when selecting a hospice:

1. Location: At the time the patient and their family member are given a choice of hospice services to contact, it is important to ask what services they provide and where they will be delivered. Hospice services can be provided in hospitals, assisted livings, senior apartments, nursing homes, hospice facility or in the patient/ family member's home. Be careful to consider all options available before agreeing to a specific hospice program.

2. Quality: Quality is often overlooked but extremely important. WhereToFindCare.com is the only place that gives you a quality score to assist you in choosing a hospice. The quality score is the percentage of people who rated their hospice on WhereToFindCare.com and said they received quality care. When it's available, you'll find the quality score on the hospice care's profile page.

3. Recommendations: Word of mouth recommendations can tell us whether we can get along with providers on a personal level. Ask friends, family, and other associates if they have had experiences with the hospices on your list.

4. Insurance: Verify the hospice takes your insurance.

5. Reviews: Research online reviews-they are a valuable resource. They can give you a better picture of whether patients received quality care with the hospice care provider.

How can WhereToFindCare.com help you find the best hospice?

Use the hospice search tool below to locate hospice care in your area. With the report generated, you can view quality information, reviews and ratings, exceptional healthcare workers at hospices(we call them Care Stars), photos, services provided, insurance accepted, contact information, driving directions, and much more.

Find, compare & rate hospice care near you

Learn more about hospice care:

How to prepare for hospice care

Have you had experiences with hospices in your area?

Share your experiences with other users by rating the hospice on WhereToFindCare.com. Your feedback is invaluable to others in your community searching for hospices.