Interviewing a Hospice Agency
There may be differences between hospice agencies in the finer details of their admission criteria, selection of patients, services, and staffing. Before enrolling with a specific agency it is best to interview more than one.
- Is the hospice agency Medicare certified and licensed by the state of Pennsylvania?
- Is the hospice agency accredited by a national organization?
- Is the hospice agency a for-profit, or a non-profit organization?”
- Certain hospice agencies have a stronger presence in nursing homes. Do ask where most of the patients they care for are residing.
- Do they have references from professionals?
- Where is their office located? Do they have an office in York?
- How long have they been providing care in the York community?
- Who does the preliminary evaluation of the patient? Where is it done?
- What are their admission policies?
- Do they allow curative treatments to continue if the person wishes to have them?
- What types of medical diagnosis or illnesses do they accept?
- Do they require a primary caregiver to be with the patient around the clock as a condition of admission?
- How do they handle billing and payments?
- Do they require an advanced directive or a doctor’s order to “allow a natural death”?
- What type of care giving staff do they have? Are they licensed ?
- Do they employ “local nurses” who can respond quickly in an emergency and on weekends?
- How large of a geographical area do the nurses cover?
- How is their staff trained?
- Are their staff members certified in hospice and palliative care?
- How many patients does each nurse manage as a “case load” every day?
Care Service Questions
- How do they handle after-hours phone calls for questions and or emergencies?
- If short-term “in-patient” care for symptom management is needed what facility is used?
- Do they provide “continuous care” if it is needed in the home?
- What pharmacy do they use and does the pharmacy make deliveries?
- How easy will it be to get emergency medications when needed, or after hours?
- Does their pharmacy do compounding and have medications in liquid or suppository forms?
- Do they provide an emergency kit of medications to keep in the home for sudden symptoms?
- Do they offer any other services not described?
- How much responsibility is expected of the family caregiver?
- What help do they give the family when there are scheduling difficulties?
- If a person can’t live alone any longer and has no available caregivers, what happens?
- What does their bereavement program offer?