The Long Journey Home: How to Find Good Hospice Care

The importance of how to find good hospice care for terminal loved ones cannot be overstated.  Hospice care is designed to provide the appropriate support, including palliative care (to ease suffering) for terminal patients as well as preparing family members for the bereavement process. Hospice providers operate under the supervision of both state and federal agencies.

To Everything a Season

Most people are familiar with the phrase, “There is a season for every purpose under the heavens.” It is a phrase from the book of Ecclesiastes, and it sums up the idea that even though beginnings are much happier, there is a season for the end of everything too. As heartbreaking as it is, everything that has a beginning, has an ending as well.

How to Find Good Hospice Care

When someone you love is in need of end-of-life care, you want him or her to have the best. So it is essential that you know how to find good hospice care for your loved ones. Highly trained and qualified medical support can help your loved one make their final transition as easy as possible. Hospice care can be a great comfort for both the patient and their family members.

Hospice care includes having a team of medical professionals create a comprehensive plan of care to provide physical, emotional, and spiritual support to the patient. The plan involves administering the necessary medications that are prescribed by the patient’s physician, medical equipment and supplies, palliative care, social workers for support and counseling, volunteer companionship, short-term general inpatient care and bereavement support for the family. In addition, members of the hospice team can provide comfort in the form of emotional (and even spiritual) counseling if the patient so desires. In short, good hospice care focuses on the whole person and helps them to live each day to the fullest.

Who Pays for Hospice?

Hospice care is covered under both Medicaid and Medicare as well as by many private health insurance companies. In most cases, terminal patients qualify for care at little to no out-of-pocket expense (a nominal copay amount of a few dollars that many hospice providers waive). In Texas, no one is turned away from hospice care because they cannot afford to pay. There are even specialty hospice providers who focus on certain groups such as pediatric hospice.

Basic Qualifications for Hospice Providers

One of the first steps of how to find good hospice care is to make sure that the hospice provider has met these basic qualifications. In order to qualify as a hospice provider, agencies must pass rigid standards of care and training. Hospice care providers must:

  • Acquire the necessary certifications (local, state and federal)
  • Undergo specialized training and testing
  • Comply with numerous local, state and federal mandates
  • Continuously meet ongoing educational requirements
  • Be properly accredited
  • Carry the appropriate insurance
  • Render certain standards of care

Regulatory Agencies

In addition, several regulatory bodies carefully monitor hospice care. These include: Medicaid, Medicare and the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (as provided for by the Texas Administrative Code). The governing agencies regulate, inspect and license hospice agencies and hospice workers.

Workers must hold the proper certifications and licensing issued by the state. Hospice agencies must be licensed as a Home and Community Support Services Agency (HCSSA).

There are also associations such as the Texas Non-profit Hospice Alliance for hospice agencies. Hospice providers may also bond their employees, must carry insurance and carefully screen their workers and volunteers before they are allowed to have contact with patients or family members.

Comfort and Care

At DHC, you can rest assured that you or your loved ones will be in the hands of dedicated, caring, professional and fully licensed caregivers. DHC is a CHAP (Community Health Association Program) accredited hospice.