Not All Hospices Are Created Equally, Patients Have a Choice in Providers
"Patients and their caregivers always have the final choice, so it’s important to find a hospice that’s a strong fit for everyone involved,” Klaire White, director of admissions for Houston Solari Hospice Care, said. “In addition to medical care, we recommend that patients and their caregivers look at factors such as agency size, location, reputation and comfort level. Our staff at Solari is always available to guide people through the process of selecting a hospice and to provide information about our dedicated program.”
Because all hospices operate under the same Medicare Hospice Benefit guidelines, service coverage and costs to the patient remain the same from hospice to hospice. However, the quality of those benefits and how they are administered can vary greatly. For example, although all hospices are required to use volunteers and to meet specific staff requirements, the talents, dedication and experience level of this hospice team can make all the difference in how care is delivered.
“Choosing a hospice to care for yourself or a loved one in the final days and months of life is such an important and stressful process,” J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), said. “Each hospice offers unique services and partners with specific community providers – so it’s important to call the hospices in your area and ask them questions. Your doctor or a family friend may suggest one or more local hospices, however, the patient and family make the ultimate decision about which hospice they choose.”
Caring Connections, a program of NHPCO, suggests inquiring about the following when you contact a hospice: Is the hospice Medicare certified? When was the last state or federal survey of the program? What extra services does the hospice provide? What services do volunteers offer? What options are available if a person needs inpatient care in a facility?
“Nationally, only one in five hospice agencies operate a dedicated inpatient unit or facility like Houston Solari Hospice Care,” White added. “When patients’ pain or symptoms become too difficult to manage at home, they can come to our freestanding 12-bed inpatient home, which offers the same comforts as home but with 24-hour-a-day advanced medical care.”
In addition, Houston Solari Hospice Care has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™. The Joint Commission, the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care, is considered the world leader in evaluating quality and safety of care delivered in all types of healthcare settings.
Anyone can make a referral to hospice, including patients, families, health care facilities or physicians. If a family is not satisfied with the hospice provider, Medicare allows patients to transfer to a different provider. Individuals can also specify a hospice provider in their advance directives in case they become too weak or unable to communicate.
“Houston Solari Hospice Care continues to provide trusted, compassionate hospice care to hundreds of Houston area residents each year,” White concluded. “We feel privileged be a part of their lives.”
About Houston Solari Hospice Care
Houston Solari Hospice Care, a member of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, is devoted to enhancing the quality of life for patients and their loved ones. Solari’s exemplary team of physicians, pharmacists, registered nurses, certified nursing aides, social workers, administrative staff and counselors are specially trained to offer the trusted, professional and comforting care designed for each patient’s unique needs. To learn more about Solari Hospice Care, please visit www.solarihospice.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org follow @SolariHospice on Twitter or Facebook.
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