How to Choose a Hospice Provider
When the time comes to decide which hospice provider is best suited for a patient or loved one who is terminally ill, there are a number of important factors to weigh.
Some factors to consider are more basic, such as the physical location of the provider. More complex issues will also enter the equation, such as the provider’s reputation with previous clients or how well it understands certain cultural and religious beliefs.
Since the patient’s hospice provider and its staff will be central to their quality of care, it should meet whatever criteria that they and their loved ones determine is most important.
Knowing the answers to these questions will assist families and patients in making the most informed possible decision when figuring out how to choose a hospice provider.
How do I know where to start?
Depending on where a patient lives, there might be many hospice providers from which to choose. There also may only be a few. Either way, this decision can feel overwhelming.
The best thing someone can do during this time, says Dr. Timothy Ihrig, Chief Medical Officer for Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care, is to confide in a loved one that has been down this road before.
“I always tell people to ask a trusted friend or family member who’s been down this journey, or their provider – if they have a good relationship – who might they recommend,” he says.
Having that personal recommendation and insider knowledge can demystify daunting questions or lingering concerns about how to choose a hospice provider.
“Throughout my entire career, even pre-dating my tenure at Crossroads, it really comes down to which organization cares,” says Dr. Ihrig.
Another thing to keep in mind is how a provider’s employees talk about their place of work, says Dr. Ihrig. If they recommend it for their loved ones, that’s usually a good sign.
“If I was to choose a hospice provider for my mom, I would choose Crossroads,” is something Dr. Ihrig hears a lot from his fellow Crossroads employees. He adds that colleagues often remind him that they “came to work for Crossroads because they give more.”
When the time comes, who will be there for me?
The end-of-life journey can be filled with many uncertainties. During this time, most people don’t want to be alone. A question many patients want to know is, “will you be there in the middle of the night if I need you?”
At Crossroads, the answer is always “yes.”
The Evenmore Care program, unique to Crossroads, is a service designed to provide more support and more care during a patient’s final days. Crossroads’ unique staffing model allows the team to be with patients virtually every day. With more patient contact, the Crossroads team is better prepared to identify needs for increased care as they arise.
When more care is needed, Crossroads’ Watch Program is initiated. This special level of care is designed to monitor a patient multiple times per day when their passing may be imminent. A team of nurses, aides, chaplains, social workers, volunteers, and more exhaust every effort to be by their side.
In addition to more care when patients and their families need it most, Crossroads offers a variety of programs that won’t be found anywhere else. For example, the Ultimate Gift program asks patients, “If you had one perfect day, what would it look like?” Then staff members and volunteers do everything they can to bring that perfect day to life.
What will happen to my family?
Patients approaching their end-of-life journey might often wonder, “who will be there for family when I’m not here?” Many hospice patients carry this emotional burden, so it’s normal to feel that way.
All hospices are mandated to provide bereavement counseling up to one year. So when choosing a hospice provider, it’s important to ask what type of services they offer. One of the great benefits of choosing Crossroads is that these bereavement services extend well beyond the mandated first year.
“Crossroads [bereavement care] is indefinite”, says Dr. Ihrig. “And it’s not just limited to family members.”
That means, patients can rest assured knowing that their closest loved ones can access these bereavement services and work through their grief and loss.
The Grief Recovery Method program is specially designed to help loved ones dealing with grief “move beyond” the pain of their loss. In this seven-to-twelve week bereavement support program, family members are led by bereavement specialists to manage and make space for their feelings of loss and sadness.
Crossroads employees are trained to have those honest and sometimes challenging conversations to help patients or loved ones overcome whatever they’re experiencing during this emotional journey, says Dr. Ihrig.
“We’re creating sacred spaces where [grieving loved ones] can come and discuss, across all the sites, what they’re learning and what the struggles are and how we can grow together,” he says.
To find hospice care near you, visit the Crossroads website or give us a call at 1-888-564-3405.
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