Choosing a hospice provider is an unfamiliar experience for most people. You or your loved one may still be reeling from the decision to move from seeking a cure to deciding instead on comfort, symptom management and quality of life.
Not all hospices are alike, so it’s important that you (or someone in your family) do some homework. When you’re looking at a particular hospice provider, ask yourself the following questions:
Is the hospice for-profit or not-for-profit?
“While all hospices are required by Medicare to provide the same core services, non-profit hospices are known for going above and beyond the requirements in the depth and breadth of these services,” says Sandra Lobert, chief executive officer of Hospice of Cincinnati. “As a non-profit hospice, we’re motivated by the needs of our patients and our community, not by generating profits for shareholders.”
This doesn’t mean Hospice of Cincinnati is not profitable. It does mean that as a non-profit, Hospice of Cincinnati reinvests any profits into uncompensated services to benefit patients, including a broad range of holistic therapies and the most extensive grief support in the Cincinnati area (see below). It also means that Hospice of Cincinnati is eligible to apply for funding from many sources, including grants and donations.
How experienced is the hospice?
You and your loved ones can rest assured that Hospice of Cincinnati provides the most experienced end-of-life care anywhere in the region. Hospice of Cincinnati was established in 1977 and is the 4th-oldest hospice in the U.S. We also are the first choice of most Cincinnati families and doctors, making us the largest hospice in Cincinnati.
We continue to be on the forefront of end-of-life medicine and care, both locally and nationally. This includes having more physicians certified in palliative care — the relief of mental and physical pain in people with serious and life-threatening illnesses — than any other hospice in Cincinnati.
What is the hospice’s mission statement, and does it resonate with what you want for yourself and your loved ones?
At Hospice of Cincinnati, we put you and your needs at the center of who we are and what we do. Our mission? To create the best possible and most meaningful end-of-life experience for all who need care and support in our community. No mention of stakeholders, no mention of industry leadership. It’s all about providing compassionate physical, emotional and spiritual care in an atmosphere of sensitivity and respect.
“Our mission drives us, not profits,” Lobert says. “It drives us to work with every patient and family to create their own definition of what a positive and meaningful end-of-life experience is for them.”
Does the hospice offer dedicated Inpatient Care Centers?
Most of the care we provide (more than 90 percent) takes place at home or in a nursing home. But, sometimes, inpatient care is needed. When a patient has uncontrolled symptoms that cannot be handled in another setting, we provide short-term care in one of our four beautifully appointed and home-like Inpatient Care Centers. When stable, patients usually transfer to where they live.
Also, respite care is provided in our Inpatient Care Centers. Because tending to a loved one at home can be emotionally and physically exhausting, patients can stay in one of our centers for up to five days at a time while their caregivers get a much-needed break.
Our centers are conveniently located in Blue Ash, Anderson, College Hill and Hamilton, and provide ample gathering space for families in addition to private patient rooms.
Does the hospice offer comprehensive grief support?
The Goldstein Family Hospice of Cincinnati and Fernside Grief Center is the first comprehensive bereavement program in Greater Cincinnati focusing on both adult and children’s grief. These services are free and available to all, regardless of whether your loved one was cared for by Hospice of Cincinnati.
Our grief services include individualized and family counseling, support groups, supportive and educational events, and a comprehensive library of educational materials.
What amenities does the hospice provide to improve the lives of patients and families?
As a not-for-profit hospice, we are able to use excess revenue, donations and the talents of our community to offer a number of services that bring joy, comfort and support to our patients and their families, including:
- Comprehensive holistic therapies by trained practitioners, including music, pet, massage and art therapy.
- Help in finding support for pets, both during and beyond the illness.
- An extensive network of volunteers (500-plus). Our volunteers provide a multitude of services, including serving meals, providing companionship to patients, and assisting with bereavement services.
We also receive input and support from our Patient and Family Advisory Committee, a first in the U.S. This group is made up of people who have experienced hospice firsthand. They challenge us to be better and to continuously improve.
Is the hospice community-based?
Many for-profit hospices are owned by larger organizations and are overseen by corporations located far from the communities they serve. As a local not-for-profit, Hospice of Cincinnati is focused on meeting the end-of-life needs of people in our own community.
Hospice of Cincinnati was started more than 40 years ago by a local group of medical and civic leaders, based on a growing need for end-of-life care, education and support. This same collaborative spirit continues today, with governance provided by a diverse, volunteer board of local leaders and community members. It’s also reflected through our collaborations with other groups in the community. We’ve partnered with the Council on Aging, Cincinnati Arts Association, local schools, ArtWorks, Honor Flight Tri-State and many more.
“The hospice you choose does make a difference,” Lobert concludes. “More doctors and families in our region choose Hospice of Cincinnati because they understand the difference we make in the lives of our patients and their families.”
If you or a loved one needs end-of-life support, consider the comprehensive, mission-based care offered at Hospice of Cincinnati. For more information, call us at (513) 891-3994 or go to our website at HospiceofCincinnati.org/contact/.
Members of the editorial and news staff of the USA Today Network were not involved in the creation of this content.
For historical purposes this article has been mirrored from: https://www.cincinnati.com/story/sponsor-story/hospice-cincinnati/2018/08/28/7-questions-you-should-ask-when-choosing-hospice-provider/1125190002/