Hospice is a service which provides end-of-life care to patients. The goal of the service is to allow the dying individual to end their days with dignity and respect. They will provide not only professional hospital services, but also see to the needs of the patients comfort and spirituality.
When selecting a service such as this, one should go over a few points of interest to insure the highest possible quality. The first and probably the most important: how long they have been in business and if they have a good reputation. And there are a couple of ways to find out; go online and look up their web site, in which case it will show if they are accredited or not, or contact the (JCAHO) Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health-care Organizations. The JCAHO shows a list of all organizations providing health care and their certificates of accreditation.
Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions: How many staff members does the agency have? Including how many staff members per patient? How long each day? Who owns the agency? Is it private owned or government run? Who pays for the service? Do they accept any form of help with payment, such as Medicare or Medicaid, which would require the agency to follow certain guidelines set down by the federal government? Is it a non-profit organization or do they have donations which help supply the service? Ask to see their financial records and where the money goes when the service is paid. How much is set aside for their patients and their staff? Food, activities, home needs, etc. This will show you exactly what you get out of your money. What makes their service better than others? And above all else, don’t be afraid to ask to see the individual or individuals who will be a part of your last days on Earth. No one wants to end their days with someone who isn’t sympathetic to their needs or wants.
The task of providing a service such as this is tailored to the needs of the dying, but the living have to continue once they are gone. And the emotional and spiritual help for them is just as important. An important part of Hospice should be to have a counselor, priest, or clergy of some kind on hand to see to the emotional well being of the survivors.