Patient Referral

Which Hospice Is Right for You?: A List of Questions You Need to Ask

Choosing a hospice provider is one of the hardest decisions you’ll ever have to make. Every patient’s needs are different—physically, emotionally, spiritually and pragmatically.

It’s important to ask the right questions to find the best hospice for you and your family.

Here’s what you should consider when choosing hospice a provider.

Patient’s Needs and Wishes

  •   What steps does the hospice staff take to honor the patient’s wishes?

Family Involvement and Support

  •   Will family caregivers be given information and training so that they can help care for the patient at home? How will that happen?
  •   What services does the hospice offer to help the patient and loved ones deal with grief and loss?
  •   Are loved ones told what to expect in the dying process and what happens after the patient’s death?
  •   What bereavement services are available after the patient dies? How long does it last?


  •   How many patients is each hospice nurse responsible for at one time?


  •   What services do volunteers offer?
  •   What screening and type of training do hospice volunteers receive before they begin working with patients and families?

Hospitals and Other Inpatient Options

  •   How does the hospice work with hospitals and other facilities during the patient’s stay?
  •   What will happen if care cannot be managed at home?

Nursing Home Residents and Other Residential Care Settings

  •   How does the hospice provide services for residents in different care settings?

Comfort and Pain Management

  •   Does the hospice staff regularly discuss and routinely evaluate pain control and symptom management with patients and families?
  •   How quickly does the hospice staff respond to requests for additional pain medication?
  •   What specialty programs does the hospice offer?
  •   How does the hospice meet the spiritual and emotional needs of the patient and family?

After-Hours Care

  •   How quickly does the hospice respond to after-hour emergencies?
  •   How are calls and visits handled when death occurs?
  •   Are other personnel, such as a chaplain or social worker, available after hours?


  •   What measures does the hospice use to ensure quality?
  •   Does the hospice program follow the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’sStandards of Practice for Hospice Programs?

Surveys and Inspections

  •   Is the hospice program certified, licensed, and reviewed by the state (if state licensure applies) or the federal government?
  •   What other kind of accreditation or certification does the hospice program and its staff have?

Choosing a hospice provider can be confusing and overwhelming. Knowing what to ask when comparing providers will help you find the best one. Your loved one deserves more than the standard, they deserve the best.

Related Content
Heart Icon

Want to give back?