Not every hospice is alike. That’s why it’s important that you choose carefully to ensure you are partnering with the hospice that best meets your needs and what matters to you and your family. Most hospices offer the same basic services, however, there are very real differences in the options for care and the quality of care, as well as in the delivery of care and in the response time. Each hospice has control over how services are delivered. 

In addition, each hospice has their own mission, some are for profit, while others like Hospice of South Texas are nonprofit. Learn more about profit vs. non profit here.

Here are some questions that you should ask when choosing a hospice program:
When choosing a hospice provider, it’s important to be well informed. These questions will help you determine important aspects of care that may matter to you and your family.

– How long has your Hospice been in existence?

Always ask how long the hospice provider has served your community. Longevity in the community usually means that the hospice provider has years of experience. And experience does make a difference. It also means they most likely have strong relationships with the communities they serve, often their team is grown from local residents. It could also mean they have a strong pool of volunteers. When a hospice provider has local volunteers you can get help running errands, have a volunteer sit with your loved one to give you time to get things done, or even arrange for a volunteer who shares your loved one’s interests to simply provide some companionship. Being part of the community in which you live is important to many people. Since 1985, for 38 years, Hospice of South Texas has been part of our community. 

–  Which Hospice staff are available after hours?

Since issues seem to happen more at night, for peace of mind and access to care, it’s important to understand when the hospice team is available. Access to care can help avoid a crisis situation as well as help reduce ER visits and rehospitalizations. Hospice of South Texas has dedicated on-call night staff. We’re here 24/7 every day of the year.

–  If my pain or symptoms can no longer be safely managed at home, where will I go? Do you have an Inpatient Center for symptom management?

While the majority of hospice care is provided in private homes or other places of residence, there are times when hospice patients may need short-term medical care for symptom management. When a hospice provider also has an inpatient center, then care for your loved one will be seamless and with the same care provider. A hospice with an inpatient unit can help ensure your loved one does not have to return to a hospital for uncontrolled symptoms. Hospice of South Texas Dornburg Center of Compassion is a free-standing state-of-the-art in-patient facility designed with patient care and family needs in mind. Twelve private rooms offer hospice patients and their families all the comforts of home while providing round-the-clock, expert medical care. Once your loved one is stable, they can return home or to their place of residence.

–  What is your response time?

It’s important to understand that not all hospices have the same response time. Hospice of South Texas responds from within moments to up to an hour depending on where you live.

–  Are services provided if I need to go to an alternative residential setting?

It’s important to understand where your hospice can provide care. There may come a time when your loved one is no longer able to live safely in their own home. If your loved one has to move to an alternative residential setting like an assisted living facility, will your hospice provider still be able to provide care? At Hospice of South Texas, services are provided wherever the patient calls home. Our local community standing has allowed us to build relationships with assisted living facilities for 38 years.

–  If we need to pursue nursing home placement, are you contracted with any nursing homes in my area?

There may come a time when your loved one requires care in a nursing home. Not all hospices have relationships with local skilled facilities.  Hospice of South Texas has contracted relationships with 28 nursing homes in our twelve county service area.

–  What is your policy regarding respite care?

When caring for a loved one with a serious illness, there will come a time when for your own wellbeing you need time away without worry. It will be important to know how your hospice provider provides respite care. In the event that the family would benefit from some relief in caregiving, the patient may be moved to a facility providing such care. Respite care for Hospice of South Texas patients is provided directly under contract with a care facility and Hospice of South Texas assumes financial responsibility. Respite care is available 5 days a month. Dornburg Center of Compassion may also be an option pending bed availability.

–  Does your agency provide its own medical equipment, or do you contract with an outside agency?

Your loved one is likely to need the extra support, safety and comfort durable medical equipment offers like hospital beds. It can be frustrating when it takes time and effort to arrange the medical equipment your loved one needs. One of the many unique things about Hospice of South Texas is that we own our own medical equipment, and we deliver the equipment to wherever you call home.

–  How does your agency support the community?

Being a local and supportive part of the community your loved one calls home is important to many individuals. It means your hospice provides care, resources and support that is vital to that community’s well-being. Hospice of South Texas supports the communities we serve by providing our services regardless of ability to pay.  We are actively involved in supporting our community with education, resources, grief support, life celebrations and advocacy.

Many individuals are unaware that it is their right to choose hospice care and to choose their provider of choice. Choosing who provides care to your loved one at such a critical time takes educating yourself about your choices. Though all hospices may seem alike, many differences are not apparent at first glance. Take the time to learn about your hospice, it may make all the difference later when you need them. We hope this blog helps you approach the hospice decision with information and empowerment. 

Every day we deliver heartfelt care and comfort to those struggling with serious illness. We enable people to regain who they are beyond their illness by helping control symptoms, providing practical support and empowering control. As South Texas’s oldest local care provider and not for profit hospice, our team members have grown up next door to those we care for, we are part of the fabric of our community. Reach out to us for Love. Comfort. Support. From Us to You.