4 Levels of Hospice Care Explained

5 Levels of Hospice Care Explained

Finding end-of-life care for a loved one isn’t as simple as choosing a local hospice care facility or in-home care provider. With so many different types of hospice care, it’s easy to get confused or overwhelmed. Not only do you need to determine the type of services your loved one will require, but you also have to understand the type of care you are looking for. To help determine the best options for you or your loved one, use this informative beginner’s guide about hospice care options.

Are All Forms of Hospice the Same?

No, and in most cases, each facility or in-home hospice care provider will multiple forms of end-of-life care.  Here are the four levels of hospice care broken down simply.

1. Routine Hospice Care is the most common form of hospice care received. This type of care is comfort based, providing physical, spiritual, and emotional support for both the patient and their families. This service can be provided anywhere your loved one calls home. This includes a residential home, an assisted living facility, or a long-term care facility. Hospice care differs from palliative care because hospice only takes place if life expectancy is under 6 months and a person is willing to forego life-prolonging or curative treatments.

2. Continuous Home Care is a short-term option to help with crisis management of intensifying pain and/or worsening bodily systems. In most cases, the services are provided around-the-clock and are performed by a licensed nurse or medical professional. To be eligible for continuous home care, a patient must need a minimum of 8 hours of nursing, hospice aide, or homemaker care.  These services can be provided in a hospital setting (ex. licensed nursing facility, hospital, nursing home, etc.) or as a form of in-home hospice care.

3. General Inpatient Care is another short-term crisis management care option and begins when other efforts for managing symptoms have been unsuccessful. This form of care focuses on worsening symptoms or pain and is often utilized in a hospital setting or long-term care facility.

4. Inpatient Respite Care is a special type of hospice care used as a temporary, 5-day service, renewable every 90 days. The primary goal here is to give family caregivers a break from the demands of end-of-life care and to prevent caregiver stress or burnout. Typically, the patient will either have a short-term stay at a hospice facility, outpatient hospice care, or in-home hospice care. These services can be planned for a few hours a day, for the weekend, or even during emergencies. Respite care is often offered as a regular service, or as sporadically as needed.

What Services Are Offered with Each Form of Care?

The type of care services offered is dependent on the specific facility or in-home care provider.  In most cases, these services can include (but are not limited to):

  • Bereavement Support
  • Medical Social Services (ex. counseling for emotional support or financial issues)
  • Medication Coordination
  • Nursing Care
  • On-Call Support
  • Pain Management
  • Spiritual Services

Who Makes the Decision on Whether to Receive Hospice Care?

Similar to a prescription for medication, a hospice order from a doctor allows a patient to contract with a hospice provider, and without a hospice order, you cannot receive hospice services. When a person is diagnosed with a life-limiting illness and life expectancy is less than 6 months, it’s smart to discuss all the options available to the patient. By law, the decision to receive hospice services belongs to the patient or their power of attorney (or medical power of attorney).

To compare providers online with a specialist, call a Grace Specialist at 877-273-0110. We can walk you through hospice options based on your preferences and help find the care you or your loved one needs.

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