Are all hospices the same?

With an increasing number of hospices serving the area, you might be thinking that they all provide the same level and quality of care. While Medicare does mandate minimum requirements for every hospice program, each hospice offers these services in unique ways. Some provide only the basic services required, while others significantly exceed them. It is important to understand that the philosophy of the agency, the resources it has available and—above all else—the expertise and compassion of its staff, do make a difference!

Here are a few characteristics that you should look for in a quality hospice program:

  • High satisfaction rating from families who have used the service
  • High level of staff certification in hospice and palliative care
  • Longevity of providing care
  • Nonprofit status – turning no one away due to inability to pay
  • Availability of inpatient hospice care
  • Extensive bereavement programs for hospice families and the community
  • Caregiver support
  • Strong volunteer program
  • Joint Commission Accreditation

There are additional items that differentiate hospice programs. Consider talking to friends or co-workers who may have had a hospice experience and explore what was important for them.

All hospices are not alike. Learn more about how they differ before selecting the best program for you.