How do I change hospice agencies?

A fellow caregiver asked...

How do I change hospice agencies? My husband doesn't trust the one we have just started. He calls them thieves and thinks they are casing the house for a burglary job.

Expert Answer

Merrily Orsini, MSSW, was a pioneer in the business of providing geriatric care managed in-home care. She currently serves on the board of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice and is Chair of the Private Duty Homecare Association. She holds a master's degree in social work and is a nationally known writer and speaker on aging, elder issues, and in-home care.

A red flag appears when I hear about an ill person distrusting those whose job is to provide care and comfort. Medicine interactions, cognitive impairments related to the disease process-both of these things can make a person distrustful when there is no reason to be distrustful. Having strangers in the house can be disturbing, as well as the obvious - facing death. There is a lot to process and absorb in this situation. However, to be mindful of his wishes, I would suggest two things: 1) Tell the nurse supervisor or the clergy/counselor assigned to your husband how he is feeling. This is not an unusual occurrence, so they may be able to assist and provide some staff changes that will accommodate him. 2) If that does not work, then see if there is another Hospice that services your geographic area. Like changing doctors, or home health agencies, you do have choices, unless your area only has one Hospice available, which is the case in some rural areas, and states with Certificates of Need.