Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Working in Hospice
More individuals are experiencing the tremendous benefits that a hospice provider can offer when a loved one is facing death. And a growing number of medical professionals are experiencing firsthand the challenges and rewards of providing high-quality end-of-life care.
For many healthcare workers, the hospice field is a new experience. They may, however, have heard many of the common myths about hospice care and working with the terminally ill—and that generates a host of interesting questions for prospective hospice workers.
- Is VITAS still hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic? Yes, and we are keeping a focus on safety through the hiring process.
- How will VITAS staff visit patients safely during the COVID-19 pandemic? VITAS staff will continue to adhere to established screening protocols to assess the risks of infection spread through each patient encounter.
- Isn’t it depressing to work with terminally ill patients every day? Not at all! In fact, many of our staff find it uplifting to work with patients and families who truly need their assistance.
- I’m used to working in a hospital. Is it hard to adjust to the self-directed work style of a hospice home care team? Our staff often find that they easily adjust to and actually enjoy an independent schedule—one that is truly focused on the needs of patients and their families.
- I don’t have any experience in hospice care. How will I learn about the best ways to become an effective caregiver in this environment? Experience is a powerful teacher. VITAS has more than 25 years of experience in training, educating and mentoring hospice caregivers.
- Won’t advances in medicine eventually put hospices out of business? On the contrary, hospice is one of the fastest-growing components of healthcare today.
- How does someone become a hospice patient? Hospice care typically is initiated after a formal request for “referral” is made by a patient’s doctor. This generally occurs when the patient’s stage of illness makes palliative care the preferred choice for treatment. To be admitted for hospice care, a patient must have a life expectancy of six months or less if the disease runs its normal course.
- What do you do for the patient’s family after he or she dies? Hospice care is unique in that all Medicare-certified providers are required to offer bereavement services to a patient’s loved ones for a year or more after the patient dies. At VITAS, bereavement care is actually written into each patient’s plan of care, and should begin with support for the family even before the patient’s death.
- Isn’t it difficult to “let go” of patients and families after you get to know them? Our staff finds comfort by participating in memorial services and providing bereavement support for the families of patients they have served.