Many people are familiar with the concept of hospice care for terminally ill patients and caregivers. But are you also aware that this kind of service offers four different types of care? So, what are the four levels of hospice care? How to know the right one for your loved one? In this article, let’s find out the four different levels of care that hospice patients can get and the appropriate type of care your loved one needs.
What is Hospice Care?
Hospice care, also called comfort care, is specialized medical care for people experiencing an advanced, life-limiting illness. Like palliative care, hospice care gives compassionate care for individuals in the last stages of incurable disease so they may live as completely and comfortably as possible.
All hospice care providers acknowledge death as the final phase of life but do not attempt to hasten or postpone death. Instead of treating the disease itself, hospice care treats the patient and symptoms of the disease. A group of professionals work together to manage indications of the disease. So that a patient’s last days may be spent with quality, surrounded by their friends and family.
Four Levels of Hospice Care
A hospice patient may get all four levels. Some may need only one basic level of care, depending on their conditions.
Each level of care addresses specific needs since each patient in hospice is unique. These four levels are:
Routine Home Care
This type of care is ideal when you are not in a medical crisis. In fact, it is a range of services you can receive at home. Members of your hospice team will go to the place you live, whether in your home or a skilled nursing facility, to provide the care you need.
In any case, routine hospice care services may incorporate:
- Nursing services
- Social services
- Hospice aide services
- Services of a doctor, physician’s associate, or nurse practitioner
- Speech-language pathology services
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Nutrition counselling
- Medical supplies
- Medications for pain and other symptoms
- Spiritual support
- Durable medical equipment
Continuous Home Care
Continuous care offers 24/7 support. Though it frequently takes place at home, this level of care can likewise be given in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Continuous care is ideal for terminally ill patients with moderate to extreme acute symptoms.
These manifestations may incorporate yet are not limited to:
- Severe anxiety
- Severe pain
- High risk of seizures
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty breathing
Additionally, each hospice provider might have a different procedure. But continuous home care usually includes hospice workers taking shifts. This guarantees that the patient and their family have the nonstop help they need while acute symptoms occur. Also, the hospice physician may remain in constant communication with the patient’s primary doctor.
General Inpatient Care
This hospice care level is usually a temporary service for terminally ill patients who have manifestations that they cannot correctly manage at home. This service includes 24/7 monitoring by hospice staff.
The inpatient facility’s symptoms are similar to the acute symptoms that need continuous home care. However, the manifestations here might worsen and require more complex medical devices and extensive monitoring by the hospice team.
A few hospice patients might go into general inpatient care because their symptoms require it. However, others may choose this level of care to guarantee the quickest and most reliable treatment possible.
The last level is respite care. This is applicable when the primary caregiver is physically or mentally exhausted and needs a break or will not be available for a brief time.
Respite care allows caregivers to take several days of rest to make sure they are in a physical and mental state to provide care for the hospice patient appropriately. Likewise, they may need respite care if they have a graduation, wedding, or another occasion they intend to attend. This guarantees that the patient gets the service they need while also giving the primary caregiver the support and rest they desire.
How to Determine Level Needed
The patient’s primary care physician and the hospice care facility should determine the patient’s life expectancy of a half year or less to be qualified for hospice care. This incorporates patients in the more progressive phases of a terminal illness.
To know which of the four types of hospice care are most suitable, the hospice facility will assess the following:
- the seriousness of the patient’s symptoms
- the quality and amount of care they can get at home
They will also consider the preference of the patient and their family.
Generally, patients who manage tolerable manifestations most days are eligible for hospice home care services. While those who have more severe indications might require general inpatient care. The degree of hospice care may change from time to time, like when the caregiver needs a break from routine care and chooses to use respite care for a few days.
Each Medicare-certified hospice provider should offer all four levels of care. Usually, you do not need to pay anything for hospice care if you have Medicare Part A and Part B. However, you might have to pay your portion of the expenses for services not identified with your primary condition. The Medicare Part C plan, also referred to as Medicare Advantage, will still cover hospice care services.
Furthermore, most patients get hospice care services through the Medical Hospice Benefit or other health insurance plans. A hospice patient may receive all four or only one, depending on their needs and wishes.
Contact The Hospice Care Professionals
The most effective way to figure out which level of hospice care is most suitable is to talk about all choices with a hospice care office. You can ask them some questions to get more information about the different levels of hospice care and the insurance plans they offer.
A hospice team can address any inquiries you may have for yourself or a loved one. Their goal is to help patients live a good quality of life and get physical, spiritual, and emotional support.
Skilled Nursing Facilities.
What Is Respite Care?