How To Choose A Hospice Provider
Hospice provides services as mandated by the Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS). Minnesota Hospice goes beyond those basic services in an effort to provide better care for our patients as well as raise the overall standard of hospice care.
- We admit to hospice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We strive to admit within 4 hours of receiving a doctor’s order.
- We admit a patient regardless of their DNR status.
- Our goal is quality of life as long as possible. We view treatments, such as transfusions, paracentesis and palliative radiation, as measures that assist in providing quality of life.
- We are your critical care team. We respond in person to after hours and weekend calls that require a face-to-face meeting.
- We offer programs designed specifically for dementia patients and cardiac/heart failure patients.
- We provide music, massage, healing touch, and the use of essential oils.
- Continuity of care is a priority at Minnesota Hospice. We assign our patients the same core team caregivers to facilitate continuity of care.
- You’ll never have to guess what day your hospice aide will visit. Every Friday, hospice aide schedules are faxed or emailed so you will know the specific date and time of the hospice aide visit. The schedule will also specify what care the patient will be receiving.
- We believe the patient has the right to continue unrelated medications as these medications may also be providing comfort.
- We are committed to improving care for veterans and we are hospice partners with We Honor Veterans program.
- The education and specialized training of our team members surpass all industry requirements.
- We are members of the Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care (MNHPC) and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO).
- Minnesota Hospice invests in our communities through extensive educational programs.
- Our Medical Director is registered with the State of Minnesota to certify our patients for the use of medical cannabis (marijuana) for the management of symptoms of certain diseases.
Your Benefits, Your Choice
There are many decisions to be made when facing a life-limiting illness. Begin with selecting the right hospice care provider. Many patients and families are not aware of their right to choose a hospice provider, leaving the decision to a physician or discharge planner. Hospice care is a federal Medicare benefit. Healthcare providers, case managers and discharge planners are required by law to honor a patient’s right to choose a hospice provider. Healthcare providers are expected to respect this important patient right. As a patient or family member, you have the right to choose who will provide end-of-life care.
7 Tips for Choosing Hospice
Hospice is undoubtedly the best option in the last months of life because it offers a variety of benefits, not only to those who are dying but also to those we leave behind. How do you find the most appropriate hospice? Asking the following questions can help you choose the hospice that best meets your needs:
- What do others say about this hospice? Get references both from people you know and from people in the field, e.g., professionals in health care such as nurses, social workers, caregivers in nursing homes, assisted living caregivers, others who have experienced hospice for a loved one or friend. Ask what their experience has been with the hospice and what their impressions were.
- What are services and specialized programs offered that go beyond those required by Medicare? Some services fall in a gray area. They are not required by Medicare but may be helpful to improve the comfort of a patient. Examples include massage, music therapy, healing touch, use of essential oils, or specialized care programs for dementia.
- Are there limits on treatment currently being received? Is there anything currently being done for the patient that a hospice under consideration would not be able to do (e.g., radiation to reduce the size of a tumor for pain management, paracentesis, blood transfusions, or use of medical cannabis)?
- How quickly can the intake/admissions staff come to begin the admission process? Do they admit after 5:00 p.m. weekdays, or weekends and holidays?
- How do they respond after-hours? Do they have a dedicated on-call team ready to respond to your family’s needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year? What is their average response time?
- What is the expectation of the family’s role in caregiving? Is what the hospice expects from family members consistent with what the family is able to do?
- What grief support and bereavement services does the hospice offer? Grief support varies greatly and may include individual counseling, caregiver support groups, educational materials, and outreach letters.