How To Choose A Hospice

A guide to choosing the right hospice for you, looking at what they offer, what the alternatives are and what you need to consider

Last updated: 19 September 2019

A woman accompanying someone in a wheel chair on a walk in the countryside

Photo by Truthseeker08 on Pixabay

Whether you are nearing the end of your life, have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, or just require more support from healthcare workers, hospice care may be a necessary addition for you. This is a guide that will make sure you’re looking in the right directions when choosing a hospice.

What is a hospice?

A hospice is a medical facility that deals with palliative care. That means care which is designed to make life as comfortable as possible for the terminally ill, chronically ill, and patients with life limiting illnesses. Hospice care focuses on pain relief and physical comfort alongside mental and spiritual wellbeing. Our guide to how hospice care makes a difference is a great place to start if you would like more information on what hospices do.

What should you look for in a hospice?

Facilities: The potential reasons you might need hospice care will be varied so the specific kind of care you might need can differ. You may need help with all of your day to day tasks, which might involve moving to a permanent hospice.

Your extra care requirements might be low enough that you can stay in private accommodation, with a hospice care professional visiting on a regular basis. In these cases the NHS or a private firm can, and regularly do, arrange for hospice care to take place in the community.

If you do need round the clock care, then finding a facility that caters for your needs is vital. Most hospices offer a similar and comprehensive range of support, but it is worth speaking to someone at the hospice to discuss any particular or unusual requirements you might have.

Location: This might be dictated by your needs and what hospices can support them, but it’s a very important consideration to make. If you have to choose a full time hospice to reside in, location can make the difference between being easily reachable by your loved ones and friends, and moving you to place that might keep you out of touch with them.

If you’re able to have your hospice care in your own home, does your own home still fit your location requirements? Are you able to reach medical staff if needed? These are questions you’ll have to think about in terms of location.

Specialisations: Similar to discovering what types of facilities a hospice might have, learning about your hospice care workers specialisations might be necessary too. If your particular ailment requires expertise when being taken care of, it’s important that you feel your healthcare workers have that experience and knowledge.

What does hospice care cost?

Hospice care is free to anyone who is eligible for treatment on the NHS, without exception. Your local health care provider will be able to assess your level of need and whether at home or in-hospice care is most appropriate and arrange for it to be implemented.

You can, however, opt for privately run hospice care. There are many hospices around the country as well as nurses and medical professionals who offer, or work for companies who offer, private hospice care. The price will vary from organisation to organisation and so you should speak directly with a representative from the hospice which interests you to find out more.

We have an extensive directory of hospices here on Funeral Guide that you can use to find a hospice provider in your area.

Who can you talk to about hospice care?

In the first instance, you should talk to your doctor. They are medical experts and understand your situation better than anyone else. They will be able to make sure you have all the information you need to make the right decision.

From there, you will need to speak to those offering hospice care. That might be hospices themselves or it might be NHS workers who organise hospice care at home. If you’ve decided you’d like to discuss private care, you should look for local private hospices or private companies that offer in home hospice care and contact them directly.

To find a hospice in your area and continue the discussion, take a look at our directory of hospices.