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Questions to Ask Hospice Before Signing On


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When a person or family decides it is time for hospice they have so much on their mind that it can be overwhelming to sift through all the information to find out if a given organization will be a good fit. Not all hospices are created equal and knowing that you've found one that 'clicks' with you early can bring great peace of mind.

With that in mind, this post is here for us to generate ideas of questions to ask a hospice organization before signing on.

So... Please post the questions you feel to be most important.

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--Do you allow any life extending measures? Somewhat agressive treatment considered 'palliative?' Blood transfusions? Etc.

--Who administers the meds?

--What equipment will you provide?

--Payment arrangements? How does it work with insurance/medicare?

--How much time can we expect folks from your organization to spend with us at different phases in the journey?

--How do you approach pain control measures?

--Can we call 911/go to the ER?

--What sort of spiritual care do you provide (chaplain, grief counselor, etc?)

--How will you support my family?

--How does one sign on/sign off of hospice?

--If I opt to sign off of hospice can I sign back on?

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Here's one question that I asked my hospice organization and it appears to be undefined as of yet by the hospice philosophy as a whole:

Will you allow continuance of oral "treatments" such as Tarceva while in hospice care? If so, will you cover the cost of this medication?

My hospice didn't have a clear answer to that one at the time -- because meds such as Tarceva are not generally considered "curative" treatment, it's worth the ask.

Another great question is: What support do you have available for family members/family caregivers? Hospice philosophy is geared to address the needs of the patient AND the family.

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