Hospice is a different experience for everyone, including the patient and his or her loved ones. Hospice is typically introduced by a doctor when a patient’s life expectancy is six months or less, but if you feel that it could make your loved one more comfortable now, don’t hesitate to discuss it with a medical professional. It is important to understand that waiting to enroll in hospice can be detrimental to the patients' mental and physical health as well as their overall level of comfort.
There are four distinct levels of hospice, created to best service the unique needs of each patient. By understanding the difference between the four levels of hospice care, you can better understand why your doctor has recommended hospice or how hospice can help you or a loved one find comfort and relief.
What Are the Four Levels of Hospice Care?
Here are the four levels of hospice care:
- Routine Home Care
- General Inpatient Care
- Continuous Care
- Inpatient Respite Care
Routine Home Care - this is the most common level of hospice care. Patients elect to receive hospice services from their home or private place of residence. This includes assisted living facilities and nursing homes.
General Inpatient Care – this is the second most common level of hospice care. This level is recommended to patients when efforts to manage their symptoms have been ineffective. The purpose of this level of care is to provide symptom management and pain control. Patients receive treatment in a hospital, hospice facility, or a nursing home.
Continuous Home Care – this level of care is predominately through nursing care. This requires direct care, symptom management, and pain control between eight and 24 hours a day. The purpose of continuous home care is to allow a terminally ill patient to remain in their private residence.
Inpatient Respite Care – this level of care is performed to provide temporary relief to a patient’s caregiver. This level of care cannot last longer than five consecutive days. The purpose of respite care is to guarantee a patient’s needs are met 24 hours a day. Patients can receive respite care at a hospital, hospice facility, or a long-term care facility.
What is the Appropriate Level of Hospice Care for Your Loved One?
The best way to determine the necessary level of hospice care for yourself or a loved one is to talk to a medical professional. All levels provide nursing services, physician services, health aide services, medication, medical equipment and supplies. It’s possible to experience one or all levels of hospice care depending on the patients need as well as the duration of treatment.
Learn More About the Levels of Hospice Care