Hospice patients may require differing levels of care throughout the course of their disease process, the Hospice Medicare Benefit allows patients four levels of care to meet their needs as they can change. These four levels of care are: Routine Care, General Inpatient Care, Respite Care, and Continuous Care. While one patient may experience all four levels, perhaps in just a week or ten days of hospice services. Another patient may experience one level of care throughout the entire duration of their stay on services. Each level of care meets specific needs, and every hospice patient and/or case is unique.
Routine Care: Almost 95% of the time, hospice is provided in the home – wherever that may be. A private residence, assisted living facility, skilled nursing facility or group home setting to name a few. The interdisciplinary hospice team members come into the home for scheduled visits depending on the needs of the patient and family. This is also the most common level of care hospice patients experience.
General Inpatient Care: This level of care is for patients who’s symptoms cannot be managed at home. Some hospices have their own Inpatient Units (IPU’s) while others contract with skilled nursing facilities to offer the extra clinical oversight. Patients are cared for around the clock for a temporary time, typically 3–5 days, until their symptoms are managed and they can return to routine home care. General Inpatient care is not a solution to permanent living arrangements. Again, this level of care is for symptom management only and ends when symptoms become managed.
Respite Care: Respite services can be utilized when a family caregiver needs a break, the hospice patient can be cared for in an inpatient bed for 1 to 5 days, no matter what level of care they need. A hospice patient is allowed 5 respite days per certification period while on hospice. These days can be used all at once or broken up if needed.
Continuous Care: Because hospitals are not ideally suited to providing comfort care, hospice patients are best cared for at home, and when asked they say so themselves. Even when symptoms are severe, hospice can keep a patient in the comforts of their own home surrounded by their loved ones. Shifts of continuous care at the bedside keep the patient comfortably at home for up to 24 hours a day. CompassionCare Hospice has expanded on this level of care and offer what we call “Crisis Care”. CompassionCare is the only hospice in Southern Nevada that has a dedicated crisis care team ready to serve our patients in their time of need. Click on the link below to watch a short clip that explains how we can keep a patient at home-even during a symptom “crisis”.