Choosing a Palliative Care Provider

If you have recently been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness and you’ve decided that palliative care is the right route for you, your next step will be to choose a palliative care provider. With so many different health care companies out there offering a range of services, it can be difficult to know where to begin your search or how to choose the right palliative care provider for you. As you begin to assess the various providers available to you, it’s good to keep some key tips in mind.

One of the first steps in determining which palliative care provider to use is understanding which services you will require. Set up a meeting with your primary care doctor to gain a deeper understanding of your illness, which treatments would be best for you and what level of care you will need. Your physician can help aid in your search of a palliative care provider by explaining which key services are going to be most necessary for your unique condition or illness.

Create a list of local palliative care organizations that service your area. You can do this by asking friends and family for a referral, or by seeking recommendations from your physician, or even just conducting your own internet search. Once you have a list of local organizations that offer palliative care, you can begin to narrow down the list.

Most palliative care organizations offer the same basic services, such as symptom relief, case management, treatment of pain and other physical, psychosocial, and/or spiritual support. However, there still may be differences between providers that might make one a better choice for you over another. The best way to really know is to compare the two. Immediately cross off organizations that don’t offer the core services that you need.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list to the palliative care providers with the services you need, assess whether or not that provider will be able to accommodate your financial needs. Providers that take your insurance are going to be the best option. Palliative care is often covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance. Although, every financial situation is different in regard to who pays for palliative care, so it’s important that you contact your insurance company to find out about any possible copays or deductibles. It is also important to look at what kind of flexibility the provider offers, such as payment plans.

Seek out recommendations and research the provider’s reviews. One way to evaluate a potential palliative care provider is to see what past and current patients are saying about them. If the provider is recommended by many, or others speak of them in high regard then it is likely safe to assume that they consistently deliver quality care. However, if others are hesitant to recommend the providers palliative care services, that may be cause to move forward with a different organization.

Finally, conduct interviews with team members to get your important questions answered and get to know your potential care team. You can tell a lot about a care provider from one conversation or an in-person visit. Do they make you feel at ease? Do they seem compassionate and helpful? Do you feel comfortable trusting them to care for your health or the health of a loved one? These are all important questions to ask yourself when evaluating a potential palliative care provider. After all, you want to ensure that whoever you select is the right fit for you.

If you’re seeking a trustworthy and quality palliative care provider, Visiting Nurse Association is ready and willing to care for you. Contact us to find out more about how we can provide you with supportive and comforting palliative care services: email or call 214-689-0000.