LEVELS OF HOSPICE CARE: THE FOUR LEVELS AND DECIDING WHICH IS BEST FOR YOU
Knowing the a loved one’s passing is only a few days, weeks, or months away can be a tough pill to
swallow, but with hospice care, it can be that little bit easier. Hospice care is a specialized health
care service offered to people who have terminal illnesses that mean they have six months or less to live. Here at Hillside Hospice, we provide comprehensive and wholesome care that caters to the
physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the end-of-life journey you or your loved one is about to
Rather than being a one-dimensional, one-fits-all healthcare program, hospice care is a fluid and
patient-oriented system that can be adapted to any person’s needs. As defined by Medicare, there are four levels of hospice care that a patient can benefit from, all of which are available at Hillside Hospice. These four levels of care include:
ROUTINE HOME CARE
This is the first level of care. It provides many hospice services to patients in their homes, nursing
facilities, or anywhere they reside. Members of our hospice care team make scheduled visits to the
patients so they can access required services from the comfort of their place of residence. These
services include physical and occupational therapy, pain medications, medical social services,
spiritual guidance, and pet therapy. Routine home care is suited for periods of crisis-free health.
CONTINUOUS HOME CARE
The terminally ill often have moments of health crises that require closer medical attention.
Continuous home care is better suited to patients with severe symptoms who choose to remain in
their homes. Here, skilled nursing services are provided for at least hours per day – but often round-
the-clock – for an extended period. Routine care can resume once your loved one is stable, but if
there are no improvements, it may be necessary to step up care to a more advanced level.
GENERAL INPATIENT CARE
This type of hospice care is offered at an approved inpatient facility such as a nursing home or
hospice facility. It is most often used when there are exacerbations of symptoms requiring closer
medical supervision and more advanced equipment than is available in-home care.
INPATIENT RESPITE CARE
Caring for a terminally-ill family member can be a lot of work, and as much as you love them, your
schedule or energy levels may demand that you take a break. Respite care is designed to take over
care when the primary caregiver is unavailable for whatever reason. Patients in stable conditions are granted stay at an inpatient facility for up to 5 days, after which they return home to continue
Because of the nature of terminal conditions, it is not unusual for patients to experience two, three,
or even all four levels of care within a matter of weeks. Regardless of what level of care is being
received, the most important thing is that the patient experiences the least amount of discomfort
and pain possible.
CHOOSING THE BEST CARE FOR YOUR LOVED ONE
Now that you know the various levels of hospice care, it’s time to choose which is best for you. Here
are the key factors to consider:
- The choice of the patient
- The state of health of the patient
- The opinion of the primary healthcare provider
- The availability of the primary caregiver(s)
Hillside Hospice is an organization with great experience in providing end-of-life care services to
those in need of them. We provide in-home hospice services, and we deliver the highest possible
degree of comfort for you and your loved ones. Feel free to contact us by phone for any questions
and inquiries you might have.