As you walk with your loved one down this final path on their earthside journey, making sure you have a trust-worthy, compassionate, and qualified hospice care team to support you is critical. So what should you look for in a hospice care provider?
Word of mouth or personal referral is a great way to start. Chances are you know someone who has utilized hospice care before. Were they satisfied with the care? At Autumn Leaves, we can also recommend a few hospice care providers who will be happy to speak with you. And remember, there is no harm in meeting with a hospice care liaison. You are in no way obligated to put your loved one through the evaluation process – they are happy to simply discuss what they can offer as you navigate options.
Internet research is another excellent resource! Check for reviews or news articles on hospice care in your area. Does it match up with your word of mouth research and personal referrals?
Another question to ask any potential hospice care provider is if they offer bedside critical care. Also known as “crisis” or “comfort” care, this refers to a short period of time when continuous care is needed for uncontrolled symptoms to provide as much comfort and relief as possible. This stage is referred to as “imminent”, and means the patient has transitioned to the final stage of life which may last just a few days.
Finally, trust your gut. You may have an instant connection or rapport with some hospice care professionals, while others may leave you with more questions than answers. Do they want to get to know your loved one? Or do they just want to add you to their service? Hospice is all about open and honest communication, so if you don’t get a sense that the provider you’re speaking to can deliver that peace of mind, move on.
Hospice is so much more than those final days of life. They are critical caregivers and knowledgeable guides, ready to shoulder the burden alongside family members as you walk this journey together, however long it may take. Not everyone is cut out for hospice care work, but for the ones who have answered the calling, there is no better advocate for your loved one.
“We focus on today. We are not curative, but we want to make today the very best it can be for their loved one. It is such a blessing that we can choose to do this with dignity. People have that right. We are honored to be part of that process,” notes Marlene.
Kerri wholeheartedly agrees, saying, “We get more of a blessing from it than I think they ever know.”
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