The time has come. The decision to seek out hospice care has been made, but now what? How do you choose the best fit for excellent end-of-life treatment for your loved one when there may be several options in your community? What important factors should you consider?
Let’s start with location. Whether you are choosing to have hospice care in your home, a nursing home, the hospital or at a dedicated facility, being within easy reach of the members of the hospice team is extremely important.
While you don’t need to live right next door, you will want to ask about on-call availability, especially by the registered nurses on the team, who often are first responders when a concern arises. Larger, well-established agencies such as PruittHealth Hospice in Anderson have the advantage here because they are often better equipped to offer full coverage and services in multiple communities in the upstate.
Furthermore, Lynn Brooks, administrator of PruittHealth Hospice in Anderson, stated that her nursing team is on-call for hospice patients and their families 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This is significant considering how frequently health concerns and emergencies arise during non-business hours.
Next, what levels of care and variety of services are available? Will your loved one require routine or continuous home or nursing home care, or general inpatient care? And what about you and your needs? Some agencies, including PruittHealth Hospice in Anderson, offer respite care, as well as bereavement and grief support services.
Because they view hospice service as a compassionate care package for the entire family, Brooks said, “Our hospice team includes not only RNs and health aides but also social workers, chaplains and volunteers. We understand how difficult this process is both for the patients and their families. That is why we take a holistic approach of providing care, keeping your loved one comfortable physically, spiritually and emotionally.”
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll want to know that your loved one will get exceptional pain management and comfort care. To evaluate this area, you can read published performance measurement evaluations such as those measured by Strategic Healthcare Programs, a huge data analysis company that works with health care and hospice organizations to analyze information gathered through customer surveys. The Anderson location of PruittHealth Hospice was the winner of the 2017 SHP Best Superior Performer Award, an honor that places it in the top 20 percent for customer satisfaction.
Deciding to accept the reality of hospice care may have been tough, but choosing the best hospice agency will be less difficult when you know what questions to ask. Brooks suggested researching location coverage, levels of care, services offered and approval ratings. Prepare yourself to make the best decision for your loved ones during this crucial stage in their journey.
“Please feel comfortable in calling our office to discuss any questions regarding you or your loved ones. Someone is always available to discuss all aspects of hospice care with you, including explaining how Medicare, Medicaid, the VA and private insurance programs will pay for this valuable end-of-life service,” Brooks concluded.
For more information about PruittHealth, visit www.pruitthealth.com or call 864-226-1219.
By Janet E. Perrigo