Hospice Care and "The Business of Dying"

There are many factors to consider when making the difficult decision of choosing the right hospice for your loved one. The uncertainty facing this decision is all the more troubling given the low frequency with which hospices may be inspected. The Washington Post notes: "The typical hospice in the United States undergoes a full government inspection about once every six years, according to federal figures, making it one of the least-scrutinized areas of U.S. health care - even though about half of older Americans receive hospice care at the ends of their lives. By contrast, nursing homes are inspected about once a year, and home health agencies every three years." A seven-part series of articles from The Washington Post, entitled "The Business of Dying," examines concerns related to hospice care. The series' detailed inquiry looks at many considerations, including non-profit versus for-profit status, the size of the organization, how long it has been operating, and staff training, to name only a few. The many anecdotes and conclusions within the series will hopefully provide guidance on what elements to weigh and questions to ask when choosing a hospice. Click here to go to the seventh article in the series, "Dying and Profits: The Evolution of Hospice," which sums up the key findings. The Washington Post also has a page with links to all seven articles and several of its follow-up articles on this topic. In addition, it has a "Consumer guide to hospice," which has information on the specific hospices in every state.
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