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Palliative Care Center

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Hospice Care

How to Find Hospice Care

Start by asking doctors, nurses, social workers, and friends for recommendations. To find hospice care in your area, visit the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). If you have trouble using this website, call the NHPCO helpline at 800-658-8898. For languages other than English, call 877-658-8896.

There are more than 5,500 hospice programs in the U.S. Check whether a program meets your needs by asking the program's administrator these questions:

  • What is the role of the patient's doctor once hospice care begins?
  • How will the hospice physician oversee the patient's care and work with the patient's doctor?
  • Will the same hospice nurse visit at least twice a week?
  • Do hospice professionals have special credentials in their areas?
  • Is the hospice program certified, licensed, and reviewed by the federal government or the state (if state licensure applies)? Does it have any other certifications?
  • Does the hospice staff routinely evaluate and discuss pain control and symptom management with patients and families?
  • How quickly does the hospice staff respond to requests for more pain medication?
  • How does the hospice meet the spiritual and emotional needs of patients and families?
  • How quickly does the hospice respond to after-hours emergencies? Are chaplains and social workers available after-hours?
  • Is respite care available for caregivers?
  • What screening and type of training do hospice volunteers receive before they work with patients and families?
  • Are all hospice costs covered by health insurance, or will the patient pay out-of-pocket for some services?
  • What will happen if care cannot be managed at home?
  • How does the hospice help the patient and loved ones deal with grief and loss?

Other Hospice Resources

Caring Connections

American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Care

Palliative Doctors

National Cancer Institute

National Institute on Aging

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on December 29, 2014
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