When I am ready to start
hospice care, how do I choose
the right provider?
EDO BANACH: First, it’s a good idea to
identify the hospice care providers in your
community and learn what they have to
offer before you find yourself needing
hospice care. When you are in the midst of
a health crisis, it isn’t the perfect time to
begin doing that research.
The number of hospice providers available to you will vary depending on where
you live. Medicare offers coverage for certified hospice providers. If you have private
insurance, you’ll need to find out which
hospice providers are in network. Hospices
can provide care in your home or at a facility, although Medicare does not pay for
room and board if you live at home or in a
nursing home or hospice inpatient facility.
Hospice providers must offer a team
including a nurse, social worker, therapist
and trained volunteers. Hospice volunteers may provide comfort along with
help in transportation, light chores or
other basic needs. In addition to nursing
and medical care, all hospice providers
offer spiritual care and grief support for
loved ones after a death. However, some
providers might offer the bare minimum,
while others offer much more. Be sure to
ask questions such as: What services do
volunteers offer? Will staff come to the
home at any time of day or night? What
extra services are offered, such as pre-hospice care or specialized programs for
the children of those receiving hospice
care? Is the bereavement care done mostly
over the phone, or is it more intensive?
It isn’t typical for someone to call up a
local hospice and ask for a meeting or tour,
If you know someone who has been
through hospice with a close friend or
family member, ask about his or her
experiences. You might even consider
attending a fundraiser for a hospice or
getting involved as a volunteer. Those
can be good ways to really get to know a
provider before you find yourself in need
of end-of-life care.
FINDING HOSPICE CARE // The National Comprehensive
Cancer Network explains the intent behind hospice care.
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
offers a worksheet on questions to ask when choosing end-of-life care.
nhpco.org/resources/choosing-hospice // Medicare.gov provides
ratings of hospice providers in communities around the country.
Ever since my cancer went
into remission, I’ve been
hyperconscious of every cough
and ache. How can I manage this
KAREN HARTMAN: Feelings of worry
and anxiety after treatment ends are
extremely common, but often people
don’t expect them. As a result, it may
feel as though your concerns are out of
place or inappropriate. These feelings
may arise just as family and friends
expect that life should be getting back
to normal. It’s hard when a patient in
remission doesn’t feel that way.
All the strategies that help people
manage any form of anxiety will be useful
here. You might try relaxation techniques
and mindfulness activities that focus
on keeping you in the present moment,
Be patient with yourself and give your-
self time. After several visits to the doctor
for follow-up tests or scans showing no
signs of recurrence, many people begin to
feel like they can breathe again. Anxiety
issues don’t go away altogether, but the
passage of time does help.
SUPPOR T FOR SURVIVORS // The American Cancer Society
offers an informational guide on life after treatment. cancer.org/
center.html // Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
has an online video library covering various aspects of living well
after cancer treatment. mskcc.org/experience/living-beyond-cancer/resources-survivors/videos // Dana-Farber Cancer
Institute provides tips on how to adjust to everyday life following