Selecting A Provider

Questions to Consider When Selecting the Right Hospice Care Provider

At Ascend Hospice, we understand that choosing the right hospice care agency can be a little overwhelming, especially if there are several agencies in your community to choose from. It is important to gather as much information as possible so you can make the best hospice care decision for you or a family member. Below are some key questions you may want to ask each agency to help in determining your needs. Once an agency is selected, please be sure to communicate your choice to you or your loved one’s physician so he or she can request appropriate hospice care and services.

Is the hospice agency Medicare certified?

Most agencies, like Ascend Hospice, are certified and are therefore required to follow Medicare rules and regulations. To use your Medicare hospice benefits, however, make sure the agency clearly states they are Medicare certified. Our highly trained staff will be happy to walk you through your Medicare benefits, easing any concerns for possible out-of-pocket costs.

Is the hospice agency accredited by a national organization?

Hospice agencies are not required to be accredited, but certification by one of these national organizations demonstrates an agency’s commitment to high-quality patient care and services. Ascend Hospice’s accreditations and affiliations include the Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP), the National Institute for Jewish Hospice (NIJH) and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO).

Will the staff be available to come to the home day or night, or during weekends?

Hospice agencies are required to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to meet the needs of their patients. Some agencies, however, have limited availability for in-home support during the night and on weekends. Ascend Hospice offers comprehensive care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, based on identified patient-centered needs.

How quickly can the admissions staff come to begin the admissions process? Do you admit in the evening or on weekends?

This will vary from agency to agency and is an important question to ask if you anticipate an evening or weekend admission. At Ascend Hospice, we strive for same-day admission – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – to ensure you or your loved one gets the hospice care they need immediately.

What services do volunteers offer? If requested, how quickly will a volunteer be available?

Volunteers can provide a variety of services, from companionship and light household chores to running errands and personal care. If you request a volunteer, make sure to ask how long it will take to have them placed in the home. Ascend Hospice can place a volunteer within five days, plus offers the patient and their family members specialized volunteer services to include aromatherapy, Reiki, touch therapy and more.

What training do hospice volunteers receive before they are placed with patients and families?

All volunteers receive extensive training on basic hospice care prior to providing services to any patient. At Ascend Hospice, we also offer in-depth 11th-hour and bereavement training programs, as well as a specially designed training program for teen volunteers. Our holistic-therapy services include volunteers who are specially trained in aromatherapy, Reiki, massage and more.

Does the hospice agency have any specialty programs?

Many hospice care agencies have a variety of programs that focus on the specific needs of each individual. At Ascend Hospice, we believe in a personalized hospice approach, offering specialized programs for veterans and patients with end-stage cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

For more detailed information or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact your local Ascend Hospice center or call us at 866.821.1212. A hospice professional will be happy to assist you.