The idea that death is the only thing 100% promised to us in life makes living every day to its fullest more encouraging. So by the time you reach old age and cannot move around as actively as you used to, you would have hopefully lived a full life because you knew one day your time would come.
The fact of death makes people uncomfortable about discussing hospice, but death gives life meaning. So when discussing and searching for hospice care, you should do so with the mindset of giving that meaningful life a great closing instead of mourning how little time is left.
With that in mind, there are many factors to consider when looking for the best hospice care for your aging relatives. You may have to figure out life insurance for seniors and if it covers hospice care, consider the sort of meals provided during hospice, research if the service is reputable, and search for facilities with the shortest commute time.
Even with understanding how death is inevitable and brings life meaning, planning for it can be overwhelming. With the right guidance, finding the best hospice care for your parents can run smoother.
What is hospice care?
When chosen properly, hospice care is a fantastic service for those who would benefit from pain management and a heightened sense of focus on symptoms that hinder their quality of life.
Not only does hospice care focus on the individual in need of extra assistance, but it also focuses on their caregivers. The point of hospice care is to provide compassionate care to people who are at an age where they are naturally going to rest or for those who are in the last phases of an incurable disease.
The goal of hospice care is to help them live out the rest of their days as comfortably as possible and for their caregivers (their children or other relatives) to spend this time with them without worrying about the pain they could be experiencing during that time.
Hospice offers a variety of services to make this process easier. For example, families can receive spiritual and emotional support with 24/7 on-call help from certain hospice care providers. Some provide the option of having visiting nurses to prevent the need of driving to doctors’ offices and to help with bathing and other personal care.
Being that this form of care is so personal, who you hire to provide this service is crucial. Not all hospice care providers are the same, and some families have negative experiences because of poor quality of service.
Ways to Find Hospice Care
To find the best hospice care for your parents and any other relatives, start by collecting a list of hospice companies. An ideal way of building a decent list is by asking for recommendations.
You should talk to doctors, nurses, other family members, and anyone else who may be knowledgeable about hospice care. A medical professional will more than likely give you the best recommendations.
After you formulate your list, you can go through each company to investigate whether it is ideal for your family’s needs. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when exploring each company:
- Check for accreditation: Hospices do not have to be accredited, but those that are have a third party reviewing their services regularly. Some hospice care options are accredited by the Community Health Accreditation Partner (CHAP) or the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).
- Length of operation: You can get a better understanding of the providers’ reputation based on how long they have operated. Having operated for three years or more shows the company is stable.
- Likability of provider: The care provider’s personality, people skills, and level of customer service play a huge determining factor. If you dislike the person providing the service, then you will more than likely have a negative experience with hospice care.
- Medicare certification: When a provider qualifies for Medicare certification, it means they offer 16 different core (doctors’ appointments, counseling, food preparation, etc.) and auxiliary services (home care, physical therapy, etc). Even if you are not a Medicare beneficiary, you know you will have a variety of options.
What to Look for in Hospice Care
Taking the time to learn about things to know about hospice care will make knowing what to look for more simple. Aside from providing general comfort like pain relief, they can offer a variety of services specific to you and your loved one’s needs, such as:
Family assistance: Some hospice care providers prepare food, clean the house, change bedpans, and administer medications if you cannot. However, some may not provide the same level of help as others. It is critical that you understand what you need help with and if the company provides that type of help.
Inpatient options: Though most hospice care happens at home, your parents may need more care than can be offered from home. Therefore, hiring a provider that leases beds in a nursing home or hospital would be more ideal.
Spiritual guidance: Finding someone who has the same religious and spiritual beliefs as your loved one can make the process more comforting. Your family may want certain customs observed, and every hospice care may not be able to provide that level of service.
Bereavement services: Dealing with death can take a huge emotional toll on yourself and your parents, so hospices offer standard counseling services and specialized bereavement services including advice for burial insurance. You can even find support groups for both the patient and their families within these hospices.
How to Prepare for Hospice Care
A good portion of individuals within the sandwich generation (a group of individuals who are raising children while also having parents heading into nursing homes or hospice care) must prepare for this stage in life.
Educating yourself on what to expect when a loved one enters hospice care before they actually go into it is an excellent way to prepare for this dynamic switch.
The sandwich generation is stuck between having to care for their children and their parents, so they may not be in the position to deal with both the emotional and physical time that caring for ill individuals needs. This makes hospice care a great choice.
However, when researching the hospice care provider, keep in mind that your parents’ comfort is most important.
Imani Francies writes and researches for the life insurance comparison site, EffortlessInsurance.com.