Questions to discuss with hospice providers


  • How long has the hospice organization been established in the community?
  • Who owns the hospice?  Is it owned by an individual, a partnership or a corporation?  Is it a for-profit corporation or a nonprofit organization?
  • Is this hospice organization licensed by the state and certified by Medicare?
  • What other accreditation does the organization have?
  • What industry quality standards does the organization meet?


  • Who is the medical director and what are his or her credentials?  Is he or she certified in hospice and palliative care?
  • How many of the nursing staff are certified in hospice and palliative care?
  • What are the credentials of the social workers and chaplains?
  • What are the credentials of the other staff members?
  • How are home caregivers trained?


  • What services are provided by the hospice?
  • What services are provided in nursing homes or other residential care facilities?
  • At which facilities (hospitals, nursing facilities and other health care settings) does the hospice provide care?
  • Does the organization have its own facility for inpatient care?  If not, where does the hospice provide inpatient hospice care?
  • Is there 24-hour access to the hospice staff?
  • What services are available after hours?
  • How often will the hospice staff visit the survivor and caregiver at home?
  • What hospice services are not paid for by insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid?

Medical Care

  • How is the survivor’s personal physician involved in hospice care?
  • What is the role of the hospice physician?
  • Which cancer-fighting treatments can be continued and which must be stopped?
  • Is there an RN (registered nurse) on-call 24 hours a day?  Are the on-call RNs certified in hospice and palliative care?


  • Are volunteers available to help the family?
  • What type of training do volunteers receive?
  • What is the volunteer’s role in your organization?

Family Support

  • How does the hospice organization support the family?
  • Are housekeeping services offered?
  • How and where is respite care provided?
  • How are the emotional and spiritual needs of the survivor and family addressed?
  • Describe the bereavement support provided.


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