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Published on June 04, 2013

5 Questions to Ask When Deciding Whether to Turn to Hospice Care

Confronting the specter of hospice care, whether for a loved one or for yourself, is intimidating. It’s often perceived as an acknowledgment of mortality. In other words, it’s scary.

But hospice care is often the perfect solution for a patient seeking to improve quality of life. It’s a decision that obviously cannot be taken lightly, but it is one that usually deserves logical consideration – that’s not something that’s always easy to do given the accompanying emotion. With that in mind, here are five questions to ask when considering hospice care:

1.    Do you (or your loved one) qualify for hospice care?

Anyone who is likely to pass away in six months or less, as predicted by their doctor, is a candidate for hospice care. If you wish to receive compassionate care when facing a life-limiting illness, there is no restriction on what type of chronic illness a patient has, whether it’s heart failure, cancer, or a life-threatening mental disorder.

2.    Are you seeking palliative care?

Hospice care differs from many other types of medical care in that it’s designed to relieve both physical and psychological symptoms by focusing on the comfort of the patient. Your hospice care team, which consists of a variety of specialists, works to provide any type of support you might need, whether it’s emotional, spiritual or social.

3.    Will hospice care meet the patient’s needs?

Hospice uses an interdisciplinary approach to meet the patient's and family's needs through physician care, nursing, therapy, a social worker, pastoral counselor, aides and volunteers. Medical care also includes medications, treatments, supplies and equipment.

4.    Is there someone to act as an at-home caregiver?

Although hospice care can be provided at a hospital facility for a short period of time, hospice services generally provide in-home care. Home hospice care is best when a patient has the support from family or loved ones.

5.    Is hospice care available nearby?

Finding a hospice that is close to you and satisfies all of your needs can be challenging. There are numerous local, state and national resources available to make finding one easier. It’s important that you choose a hospice that is right for you and/or your loved one in order to gain the most benefits from this type of care.

While the goal of hospice is to allow the individual to remain in his or her home environment, circumstances may necessitate a short inpatient stay at a hospice residence. Private pay residential care is also available.

Crozer-Keystone offers a full-range of hospice services, including home-based care as well as the Crozer-Keystone Hospice Residence at Taylor Hospital—a beautiful 10-bed inpatient unit designed to provide comfort to the patient and respite to their caregivers. In addition, those who have recently lost a friend or family member could benefit from our “Hope for Healing” Hospice Bereavement Support Group. To talk with a Hospice representative, please call (610) 284-0700.

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