End of Life Care Guide: Questions Before Deciding

1. Is this hospice for profit, non-profit or government operated? Who owns this hospice? Is it a corporation? Can I check with the Better Business Bureau or get some other rating?

2. How many hospice patients do you care for throughout the community?

3. What's the staff/patient ratio per day and per shift?

4. Who do I talk with if I have a concern?

5. How many licensed nurses do you have on staff in a 24/7/weekend time period? What other staff members do you have?

6. Do you have a full-time social worker? Therapist? Chaplains of varying faiths?

7. What services are available? What happens if my loved one needs dental care, skin care or some other treatment not related to their terminal illness? Are these things covered? Are there any additional costs I should know about?

8. How are patients and family members/caregivers informed of patient care or changes? What services will family members/caregivers be responsible for providing?

9. What resources are available for in-home hospice care?

10. How long can my loved one stay at a hospice facility? Is there any additional cost?

11. How often will hospice caregivers and staff come to my home and how long do they stay?

12. Can I take respite over night, or for several nights? If so, how does that work?

13. Is there a contract I have to sign? Do I receive paperwork listing what I can expect regarding my loved one's care?

14. How is pain managed and will I need to monitor this?

15. What happens at the end? Will I be left alone with my loved one or can I expect support?

16. If my loved one dies while I am at home alone, who do I call?

17. What benefits might I receive in the days, weeks and months after my loved one passes? Will hospice continue to offer support to me and other family members?

>>Review the Senior Care Index for all senior care options.

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