Health Care

What Are the Different Levels of Hospice Care?

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Having a loved one in hospice care is an emotional experience. At the same time, you’re doing your best to make sure they’re getting the best care and comfort possible. We’re here to explain the different types of hospice care we offer based on your loved one’s needs. They are:

  • Routine Care
  • Respite Care
  • Inpatient Care
  • Crisis Care

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice care is considered end-of-life care for someone with a life-expectancy of six months or less. A team of health care professionals and volunteers provides it. They give medical, emotional and spiritual support. The goal of the care is to help those at the end of life have peace, comfort and dignity. Support for families is provided as well. Now, let’s look at the four levels of hospice care in more detail.

Level 1: Routine Care

Routine hospice care is the basic level provided in your own home, assisted living facility or nursing home. This level of care offers a team approach by hospice staff and your physician to provide comfort and treat symptoms. This level of care includes medical social services, spiritual support, volunteer visits, bereavement counseling, medication, equipment and all supplies for your loved one’s hospice diagnosis such as wheelchairs and bedside commodes. Physical therapy, speech therapy and/or occupational therapy may also be provided.

Level 2: Respite Care

The respite level of hospice care is provided on an occasional basis and offers a planned, short-term break for unpaid family caregivers from the challenges of assisting a loved one with a serious illness. It can only be provided at a Medicare-certified inpatient hospice facility, hospital or skilled nursing facility that has the ability to provide around-the-clock nursing care.

Level 3: Inpatient Care

Sometimes, severe pain or other symptoms require an advanced level of care that can be better provided during a short stay in an inpatient hospice facility. If your loved one’s needs intensify, their hospice team may recommend your loved one to our inpatient level of care.

The goal of inpatient hospice care is to manage severe pain and symptoms so that your loved one can return home to their family and comfortable surroundings, if possible, and continue routine hospice care at home.

Level 4: Crisis Care

Crisis hospice care is when continuous home care is necessary during times of crisis, or when higher-level care is needed for at least 8 hours in a 24-hour window. Patients become eligible when they experience severe symptoms that can only be treated by a nurse or other medical professional. Like routine home care, it takes place in a residential setting.

Some symptoms that may point to the need for crisis care include:

  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Breakdown in the patient’s primary caregiver support system
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Unrelieved pain that fails to respond to pain medications

When the Time Comes

When the time comes for you to engage hospice care for your loved one, you will not be alone. We’ll be with you, doing all we can –– no matter the level of hospice care needed –– to make sure they are comfortable and that this precious time together can be cherished by your family.

For more information on the levels of support we can provide you and your family, visit us here.

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