Some of the things to consider when evaluating the ratings of hospices are patterns across categories and specific issues of particular concern in relation to the patient and family, says the American Hospice Foundation. A family should choose a hospice that rates well in areas of personal concern.
Areas in which hospice services are rated and important to families include how pain and symptoms are handled, including the uses and types of medication and palliative care administered; availability and communication quality with hospice personnel; emotional, spiritual or religious support provided for the patient and families; number of visits by hospice personnel to the patient's home per week; and how closely the patient's wishes and instructions are followed, reports the American Hospice Foundation.
Families should consider how important each of these issues are to the patient and his family when evaluating the ratings for each of these categories, recommends the American Hospice Foundation. Families should also ask for information that can be provided by the hospices, such as certification and qualifications of the hospice staff and religious affiliation or accommodations and more technical information such as the number of patients cared for at a time, options about care other than at a patient's home and languages spoken by staff members.