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How to Choose A Hospice?

Home How to Choose A Hospice?

One of the many obstacles involved for people with terminal diagnosis is living through incidences that require making choices for treatments. Now that everything/anything available for cure/treatment have been considered or exhausted, hospice care is recommended. You along with your loved ones, are asked to choose again. Choose among the many different providers available. There are so many different hospice providers out there today that choosing the right provider appropriate to your needs and goals can be overwhelming. How do you find the best hospice in Los Angeles? Knowing how stressful such times can be, we hope to ease that stress with this short, but informative guide to choosing a hospice provider.

First and foremost, know that obtaining hospice care does not mean giving up. In fact, if patients’ condition improves with better quality of life the hospice services can be discontinued and treatment resumed.

Start by narrowing down your choices. Consider what kind of health plan or insurance you have. Some plans may have a list of providers that they may require you to choose from. This will be their list of “preferred providers” with which your health plan has negotiated favorable rates, in order to receive the full financial benefit of your policy.

Medicare’s Hospice Compare website lets you retrieve ratings of hospice providers within your community. You can also compare different providers and their ratings at https://www.medicare.gov/hospicecompare/

Search engines, social media and Yelp reviews are helpful sources. Use these to find local hospices and get a better sense of their unique offerings. Yelp reviews are especially helpful because you can learn about the actual care that previous clients have experienced. Faith & Hope Hospice and Palliative Care is proud to have one of the highest ratings on Yelp.

Always conduct interviews with two or three agencies. You need to feel comfortable with the people providing care during this intimate and vulnerable time. Avoid interviewing too many agencies though, as this can get overwhelming. Consider asking these important questions:

  • How long has the hospice been in operation?
    • Faith & Hope began providing care in 2007.
  • Is the hospice locally owned or part of a large corporation?
    • We are family-owned and based in Pasadena. We serve all of Los Angeles county and the surrounding areas.
  • Is the hospice Medicare certified, state licensed, and accredited?
    • Faith & Hope is Medicare certified, state licensed, and accredited by The Joint Commission.
  • Are there any services offered beyond what is mandated?
    • Faith & Hope offers the following special services:
      • Music Therapy
      • Reiki
      • Pet Therapy
      • Mindfulness Meditation
      • Palliative Sedation
  • What is the response time for crisis?
    • We understand that a crisis can occur at any time and with little warning. We try to anticipate what issues might arise based on the patient’s terminal illness and other unique needs. Our staff will make sure any emergency medications are in the home before severe symptoms strike.
  • How quickly will pain/symptoms be managed?
    • Managing pain and symptoms is our top priority. We will begin working on this as soon as someone is admitted to our program.
  • Do you have an on-call team for after hours?
    • We have nurses available around the clock. They are available for support over the phone and will make house calls when needed, no matter the time of day or night. Our physicians are also available to address complex symptoms that arise unexpectedly.

Finally, one of the most important things to consider, is the “chemistry” with the individual representing the hospice agency. That first impression should leave a sense of compassion, trust, confidence and comfort. Pretty brochures and websites are not as important as the connection you feel with the people who you will interact with.

How to Choose a Palliative Program?

When choosing a palliative program that best meets your unique needs and situations, the following questions may be considered:

  • Are you a community/clinic/hospital-based program?
    • Faith and Hope is community-based, providing care wherever the patient calls home.
  • What disciplines are involved with your program, and how are they involved?
    • We provide a nurse, physician, social worker, and spiritual coordinators.
  • How does your program approach family involvement and support?
    • Our palliative program sees the family as a vital part of care. We encourage families to participate as much as they’d like, and provide support and education for them to succeed as caregivers.
  • What steps are taken by your team to address pain and symptom management?
    • Faith and Hope takes a proactive approach to managing symptoms. This starts at the time of admission through the entire length of stay. We utilize both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions to address symptoms from every angle.
  • What, if any, additional services does your program provide?
    • Faith & Hope offers the following special services:
      • Music Therapy
      • Reiki
      • Pet Therapy
      • Mindfulness Meditation
      • Palliative Sedation
  • Are you accredited for your palliative program?
    • Faith & Hope was one of the first palliative care programs in Southern California to achieve accreditation by The Joint Commission.

Choosing this extra layer of support alongside curative or other treatments can help patients and their loved ones to better manage symptoms, address concerns that matter most and improve the overall quality of life.

Employment Opportunities

Hospice is one of the most rewarding professions. Yes, it has its challenges; yes, it has its obstacles; yes, it has its hardships, but none of these are enough to keep away the sense of reward you feel. There are days you will cry, but even more when you will laugh. We don’t just help people die well. We help people live to the fullest before they die.

If you are interested in applying with Faith & Hope Hospice and Palliative care, then please contact us at 818.559.1460 and ask for our HR dept.