As the American population becomes older, more people than ever are choosing to age at home. However, it sometimes becomes difficult for older adults to maintain independence and take care of themselves, especially if the adult is sick or has a disability. In cases like these, hiring a hospice provider might be an option.

A hospice provider is someone who provides care for the sick in their own homes, especially in regards to terminally ill patients. Hospice care can greatly vary in terms of what kind of care is offered, so when choosing a hospice provider, make sure to ask the following questions:

  • How long have they been in operation? Hospices that have been in operation longer are more stable and tend to have better reputations, plus, you can ask others for references.
  • What is the staffs response time, especially in the evening and on weekends? Youll want to know how long youll have to wait for care in case of an emergency.
  • What kind of respite care do you offer, and under what circumstances? Caring for an ill family member can be mentally and emotionally exhausting for a person, so make sure to ask who would provide respite care (a nurse or a volunteer, for example), how often, and for how long.
  • What other levels of care do you offer? Youll need a hospice provider that addresses your specific needs. Some agencies only provide basic home care, while others provide comfort care, respite care, and/or inpatient care.
  • What accreditations do your hospice staff have? Medicare requires that all hospice providers have physicians, nursing services, home health aid services, social services and spiritual care; however, each agency is different in how they fulfill each of these services.
  • Does the hospice provider come to your home to do an assessment? Doing an in-home assessment can help the hospice provider to correctly assess your home healthcare needs and build a plan for your hospice care.
  • What are the financial options of this hospice program? Explore different cost programs and payment plans to see what fits best with your finances.

If aging in your home is what you want, hiring a hospice may make it easier for you to age in place. The combination of hospice and home access products such as stair lifts or bath tub lifts can help you stay in your home and age comfortably.