Choosing a Hospice Care and Some Questions to Ask

Choosing a hospice care for your loved one can be a very difficult and stressful decision to make. You want to make sure they have the best end-of-life care possible and are surrounded with people that make the last moments of their life a peaceful time. Here are some questions to ask a hospice care program to help aide you in making the right decision.

  • Is the agency accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency such as JCAHO?
    If the organization has sought accreditation they are committed to quality care.

  • How long has the hospice been in operation and can they provide references?
    If the hospice has been around for a while, it indicates stability. You can also ask if the agency provide references from professionals, such as a hospital or community social workers, who have used the agency.

  • What is the availability and response time?
    If the family needs someone to come in the middle of the night, what is their average response time and what are the service boundaries geographically?

  • What are patient’s rights and responsibilities?
    Does the hospice provide this info, and if so ask to see a copy of this information.

  • What are the costs and is the hospice Medicare certified?
    How does the agency handle payment and billing? Medicare certification is essential if the patient is a Medicare beneficiary.

  • What is the expectation of the family’s caregiving role?
    Does the hospice require a designated family primary caregiver and what is expected of the primary caregiving role?

  • What are inpatient options?
    Patients being cared for at home may need to go to an inpatient unit for difficult symptom management. Visit these facilities to make sure your loved one would be comfortable there. 

  • What kind of bereavement services does the hospice offer?
    Some hospices provide grief support and counseling to the family after a loss.

  • What extra services does the hospice provide?
    Do they offer extra services beyond what is required?

These are a few of the important questions that can help assist you when choosing a hospice care. can also assist you in locating quality hospice care programs. HospiceTalk maintains a directory of only the best hospices in your area. These are hospices that provide exceptional care and go through HospiceRaters, an in-depth process of vetting hospice care providers, before they are listed on the site.