When someone tells you it’s time to call hospice for someone you love, it’s one of the toughest bits of news you’ll ever hear. However, when you do get that news, you’ll still need good information. Here are a few tips.
Find the Right Fit
First of all, you have a choice about which hospice agency or provider will give care to your loved one. You will often be given the names of one, sometimes up to three, agencies that provide hospice care. A doctor, a hospital social worker, your elder’s nurse practitioner or someone at your elder’s care facility usually gives hospice agency referrals.
You can call one of these agencies and/or you can do your own research on which agencies have the best reputation in your elder’s community. You have a choice. You don’t have to use one of the agencies that was referred to you. Remember this.
Sometimes it is very convenient to use a referral. Often, the person or organization referring the hospice agency to you has experience with that agency. They refer agencies that work well with the system that shares their name. That’s good in many ways. At other times, you’ll want to start fresh.
How to identify the right fit –
- The right hospice provider will understand your elder’s wishes, will work with the family as partners in care, will be very effective communicators and will be responsive to any changes needed or requested.
- Interview each of the hospice agencies before you select one.
- Ask neighbors, friends, coworkers (and even on social media) if they have had any experiences good or bad with hospice agencies. Who would they recommend?
- Read this helpful list from the American Hospice Foundation. https://americanhospice.org/learning-about-hospice/choosing-a-hospice-16-questions-to-ask/
- Check with your state hospice accreditation agency (search Internet for this in your state) on the reputation of each hospice group you’ve identified. Each state does this differently. You can find out if an agency has any complaints filed against them or if they are currently accredited.
- A list of hospice associations by state can be found at https://hospicefoundation.org/Hospice-Directory
- Remember you can change hospice agencies if you are not satisfied. Specifics at Medicare.gov – see next point.
Learn What Medicare Covers in Hospice Care
- Visit Medicare.gov and use the Search box to find information on Hospice.
- Download Medicare’s publication on Hospice Care. https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/02154-Medicare-Hospice-Benefits.PDF
- It is important to know what Medicare does and doesn’t cover in the hospice program. Don’t just rely on the hospice agency personnel to tell you. Verify any information you receive.
Read some good information
- The best book that I’ve found on situations you’ll encounter in end-of-life care is Final Gifts by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley. It is a must-read for families experiencing hospice for the first time. Take the time to read it. Please.
- Visit HospiceFoundation.org – the website of the Hospice Foundation of America. Good info available here on all sorts of topics, with some available in Spanish.
- National Association of Home Care and Hospice at nahc.org. They have a hospice patient’s bill of rights.
Be a Good Advocate
- Now is the time to speak out or speak for your elder. Their own voice may grow weaker but your advocacy should grow stronger. Find your most diplomatic voice and use it to make sure your elder’s wishes and your family’s wishes are respected and carried out.
You will make it through. You will. It’s hard. It may be long, but it may also bring some of the best, most touching moments you’ve spent with your elder.
Hammerle Finley Law Firm. Give us a call. We can help.
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The information contained in this article is general information only and does not constitute legal advice.
Join us for the panel discussion: “How to Take Care of Old People without Losing Your Marbles”
Virginia will be part of a panel discussion with Dr. Jill Studley and authors Suzanne Blankship and Nadine Cornish on How to Survive Eldercare with a Few Marbles Left! At The Wild Detectives Bookstore on Feb. 20 at 7:30 pm.
Join us for a lively discussion about how to survive eldercare with a few marbles left! Our panel of eldercare experts will discuss how to stay ahead of the next elder emergency, how to keep your sanity as a caregiver and how to help your elder prepare for their years ahead.
Our all-star panel features:
- Suzanne Asaff Blankenship, author of How To Take Care of Old People Without Losing Your Marbles and moderator of the panel
- Virginia Hammerle, attorney specializing in elder law at Hammerle Finley Law Firm, and writer of Dallas Morning News’ Legal Talk Texas, a weekly column in the Senior Section
- Jill Studley, MD, doctor of geriatric medicine, Highland Springs Medical Center and a multi-year D Magazine Top Doc
- Nadine Roberts Cornish, author of Tears In My Gumbo – The Caregiver’s Recipe for Resilience and founder of The Caregiver’s Guardian
Having the responsibility for the care of aging parents and relatives can be overwhelming and frustrating. Our panelists offer tips, ideas and guidance that will leave you with more time, money and marbles.
- Carving out time from your list of life’s responsibilities to add care for your elder can be stressful. How do you avoid being stretched in too many directions?
- How do you plan now so that, when the emergency happens, you and your elder are prepared? What paperwork is needed, and who should be involved?
- When do you start participating in your elder’s medical care choices? What is the best way to be involved while maintaining your elder’s independence in their medical decisions?
- How do you keep your own stress levels manageable through the ups and downs of the journey?
Come hear our experts’ guidance on issues related to these questions and more.
Tuesday, February 20 from 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM at:
The Wild Detectives Bookstore
314 W Eighth Street
Dallas, TX 75208
RSVP to the event on Facebook: Click Here to RSVP