Finding a hospice is an emotional and sometimes harrowing experience. It’s always a sad time, but finding the right hospice can dramatically enhance a person’s quality of life. This is one of the most important decisions that you’ll make, so it’s vital that you perform in-depth research and make the best choice.
Are there full-time doctors?
All hospices will be in close contact with doctors, but not all of them have physicians as part of their full-time staff. Having doctors work as staff comes with a range of advantages. It means that they are always on hand should an emergency develop, and it makes scheduling appointments much easier. Visiting doctors often have tight schedules, forcing patients to work around them. In some cases, patients might even have to travel for their appointments. No such problems exist with a team of doctors working on site.
What are the different levels of care?
Hospice care is varied and broadly encompassing. Alongside caring for the physical health of their occupants, some hospices also offer spiritual support and mental health guidance. This is invaluable in the later stages of a person’s life and can alleviate a great deal of suffering. Grief care and support for loved ones is a common service too, but not all hospices offer this, so it pays to do your research first.
Have you read testimonials?
There’s no better way of getting to know a hospice than reading reviews and testimonials from the family members of previous patients. A hospice might have a glittering list of certifications and make a range of promises, but nothing compares to the real-life experiences of those who used it. Read any and all testimonials you can find, looking for common themes, both negative and positive. This kind of research is invaluable and as close as you’ll get to actually testing a hospice out before you visit.
Can the hospice serve care in multiple locations?
A hospice in San Diego, CA, might have multiple care centers across the area and could even offer care for outpatients at home. This is important. Situating a loved one in a hospice far from home can be a lonely experience for them and a logistically difficult one for you. Commuting to and from the hospice is time-consuming and cuts down on visiting hours. If a hospice operates across multiple locations, you can usually find the same level of care closer to, or even at, home.
How readily available is help?
Last but not least, any quality hospice should offer round-the-clock care. While this is often taken as a given when researching care facilities, it’s still important to double-check before you commit. Critical situations can develop at any hour of the day or night, so the hospice should always be ready to respond. A nurse should always be on call, emergency systems should be in place, and there should be doctors on standby. This is a crucial aspect of care.