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How to Choose a Hospice Provider By Didi Lomont Planning for end-of-life can be daunting and stressful. There are so many important decisions to consider … but often the most urgent decision is how a person will be cared for in his or her final days. Hospice care, covered by Medicare, focuses on providing comfort and quality at this meaningful time. To qualify for hospice, a physician must certify that the person's life expectancy is six months or less. That timeframe is flexible and services can be extended beyond six months. Questions to ask when choosing a hospice provider Naturally you want to choose a hospice provider that provides quality care and support to you and your loved ones. Here are some questions to ask when researching your options for hospice providers: : - Do hospice staff members live in the community they serve? It’s important for staff to be familiar with local community resources and to be available to travel to your home quickly when needed. - How are services provided after normal business hours? Are staff available 24/7 to respond in person to urgent issues at your home? Or does “on call” mean an answering service? - What services does the hospice provide? Are there specialized clinical programs available to treat common conditions such as dementia, heart disease, lung disease? - What are the credentials of the professional staff? Is medical staff certified in palliative care? - How long has the hospice been in business? Longer-standing hospices often have more resources and better-established programs to serve their patients. - Is it a for-profit or not-for-profit hospice? A not-for-profit hospice is focused on serving the needs of the community that supports it. Why choose Hospice of the Valley Hospice of the Valley is a not-for-profit organization that has been a leader in providing hospice care in Arizona since 1977. Some of the agency’s strengths include: - Specialized clinical programs for patients with cancer, dementia, congestive heart failure and pulmonary disease. - Innovative programs to suit the unique needs and interests of individual patients, including music therapy, massage therapy and pet therapy. - Physicians, nurses, social workers, aides, chaplains and volunteers work together to meet the medical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and families. More nurses certified in palliative care work at HOV than any other Arizona hospice. - A robust bereavement program supports family members with the transition of a loved one for a full year and beyond. - Community programs help individuals with their health care needs before they even need hospice with no out-of-pocket costs. Also important to Carefree/Cave Creek residents is the fact that Hospice of the Valley has staff that live in the area and are familiar with local resources. The choice is yours Hospice care is a service to choose carefully. Resources for information about hospice care in your community include: - Physicians, nurse, and other healthcare professionals. - Social workers, clergy, and other counselors. - Friends or neighbors who have had direct experience with hospice care. - Local senior centers. Whatever questions or needs you may have, Hospice of the Valley is always here to help. For more information, go to www.hov.org or call 602.530.6900. Didi Lomont is web communications coordinator for Hospice of the Valley.
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