How to Report a Hospice – The Patient is the Priority.

If you have concerns about the quality of the hospice care that you or your loved one is currently receiving, there are options to help find resolution.

We as hospice care providers understand the enormous pressure that you may be feeling in your current situation, and there is no room for mean people. Thankfully, over the years I have come to discover that is not the norm. Most of professionals that gravitate toward providing hospice services are kind, caring, and compassionate. On a human level, we are trying to help our fellow man, and make a difference.

I was once told something very sage, by a seasoned nurse, early in my nursing career.  Fifteen years later, her voice still resonates in my mind, “Nice nurses don’t get sued”.  I am not willing to vouch for the accuracy of that statement, but I am willing to say that medicine and healthcare can be a messy business.

Healthcare professionals make mistakes, and can  have lapses in clinical judgement.  When this happens, it is the responsibility of the provider to be accountable to their patients.  Being able to trust the people providing your care of this nature is very important.   Any breach of trust can negatively impact the quality of care for you or your loved one.

On the most basic level, you have the right to access of quality healthcare that encompasses all of your benefits.

Hospice care providers are expected to provide their patients with the necessary comfort measures that are intended to treat unpleasant symptoms that may occur. All agencies are bound to adhere to Standards of Practice.  When a patient is in severe distress or symptoms are being ignored, then the hospice is failing. Patient neglect is highly frowned upon by the state governing agencies.

 Naturally any type of physical or verbal abuse by a licensed hospice care provider is also entirely unacceptable, and should not be tolerated.  Abuse and Neglect are two of the more common types of complaints that are filed.   The extent of investigation will often depend on the circumstances surrounding the complaint.

Reporting a Hospice is pretty simple, but the wheels of bureaucracy can move slowly.

If you or your loved one are on hospice, and there is a  problem that requires urgent attention,  you may not have the time to wait for action set forth by the state.   The patient is always the first priority, and you have the power to advocate for your loved one.

What Can You Do?

Start with your RN Case Manager.

The relationship you may have with your hospice nurse is ideally that of a partnership.  One of their roles is to oversee all aspects of the delivery of hospice care, and they should be receptive to your concerns.

If you are not comfortable discussing your concerns with the case manager, or  feel like your concerns are not being addressed,  the next step would be to contact the administrative office of hospice agency.  Preferably you will want to speak to a clinical manager or the hospice administrator.  A reputable hospice agency will respond quickly to complaints involving the delivery of care, and take the necessary actions.

If your grievance was not successfully resolved as a result of involving the hospice agency, then transferring to another hospice may be a favorable option.  Medicare will allow a hospice patient to transfer care from one agency to another, a maximum of one time within the first three months of service.

The doctor’s office that initiated the referral to hospice care will be interested in helping you find another hospice.  It is important that these physicians are made aware of problems associated to a specific organization.  This could potentially deter the doctor from sending more patients to that particular organization.

We all have a moral obligation to protect each other in our communities.

If you witness abuse or neglect of a hospice patient, I would you urge you to take action.  Advocating for your loved one, when they may be in vulnerable state, is a serious responsibility.  There are options for you, if you are currently dissatisfied with the hospice services being provided.

There is a non-profit organization that was formed in 1998 called Hospice Patient Alliance.  They have a wealth of information on topics related to hospice care from the standpoint of patient advocacy. has thoroughly catalogued a list of State Agencies that you can contact to initiate a formal complaint.  In addition to making a phone call, they strongly urge you to also submit your grievance in writing.  They have a very nice form that you can use that contains all of pertinent types of information that you would need to provide.  This is website is a great resource, and I refer to it often.

Helpful Links

I hope you found this information helpful.  Please feel free to leave a question or comment below.


  • Jackie June 24, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    Goodness, it never occurred to me that someone that I entrusted to take care of my loved one could be mean. I’ve only been around hospice care workers a few times, but have found them to be the kindest, most caring people I know. Most people go into this type of work because they are deeply caring people right? Thanks for making me aware.

    • Heather Williams RN CHPN June 25, 2017 at 8:16 pm

      Hi Jackie,
      Thank you visiting again. There are a lot of wonderful professionals providing care to hospice, but personality conflicts do occur. I don’t think people go into it with mean mentality, sometimes it just may not be a good fit.
      Take Care, Heather

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  • Cliche Rice June 25, 2017 at 9:56 am


    The information on your site is very helpful. My mom is up in age and if the time comes and I have to make crucial decisions about her wellbeing I would like to be more than ready, and your site has just put a lot into perspective for me.

    I can feel the compassion you have through your writing. I like that you guide people like me that may not know the best way about getting help for a loved one in a crisis to the people who can help.

    I love your site and can tell it will be helping families for years to come. Keep up the good work!

    This was really a well-informed read!


    • Heather Williams RN CHPN June 25, 2017 at 8:18 pm

      Thank you for the nice comments. I am happy that you found the information useful. If I am able to help one person, then I have succeeded.
      Many Blessings,

  • Deano July 22, 2017 at 9:47 am

    The hospice that cared for my mother was awesome, mindful, with a proficient staff. I had no clue what to do or how to achieve looking after my parent. They dealt with EVERYTHING! Also, they were so exceptionally kind hearted among it all.

    Finding staff who really care about their well being is difficult but we will all be in their shoes one day

    • Heather Williams RN CHPN July 22, 2017 at 2:47 pm

      I am always glad to hear about families who remember hospice has being a support and opposed to another source of stress during a difficult. I truly believe in my heart that your experience is the closer to the norm. Thank you so much for your input.
      Take Care, Heather


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