Care worker giving water to elderly woman in geriatric hospice

Understanding the Levels of Hospice Care Available Through Medicare

Learn About Your Benefits to Make Informed Decisions About Hospice Services

When you’ve decided that hospice care is the next step in your healthcare journey, you are communicating to your loved ones and care providers that you are ready to cease treatment for a terminal illness. You want to live with as little pain and as much comfort as possible at home, without the stress, challenges, and risks associated with hospital admission.

Home hospice care provides physical, emotional, and spiritual care that focuses on comfort, pain management, and symptom relief for your illness. Hospice services cover four different levels of care, depending on your circumstances and condition. Medicaid and Medicare cover these services in full; private insurance covers it partially or in full, depending on your plan.

Learn more about each of these care levels in detail, so you know what to expect as you make decisions regarding your welfare during this time.

Routine Home Hospice Care

This level of care is called “routine” because it is typically based on scheduled visits to meet your hospice needs. Routine hospice care provides individualized hospice care at home. Your hospice physician and regular physician collaborate to ensure you get individualized care. A registered nurse case manager directs your care and ensures you receive the services that will help you stay comfortable and as pain-free as possible, so you can maintain the best possible quality of life during this time.

Your care plan for routine hospice care at home may include the following services, based on your needs and the provider you choose:

  • Pain relief and symptom management
  • Spiritual support from a chaplain
  • Aides for personal care
  • Medical social workers, who provide emotional support and access to additional resources
  • Special services, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, dietary counseling, and more, if applicable
  • Medical supplies and equipment related to your illness
  • Additional volunteers for support and companionship

It is important to remember that this first level of hospice care in the home is flexible. You can still receive unscheduled visits if symptoms need to be addressed right away. Your care can also shift to one of the next levels, depending on your condition. When you work with a highly responsive, compassionate home hospice services provider, they will ensure your care evolves when needed.

Continuous Home Care from a Hospice Care Provider

It is possible that at some point in your routine care, you will need additional support for pain or the symptoms of your illness. When your symptoms are severe, scheduled visits may not be enough to ensure you are comfortable and free of pain. A highly rated home hospice care provider offers an on-call nurse, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in addition to.

You will receive compassionate, responsive, expert care from your home hospice team’s assigned nurse to address your acute, urgent pain and discomfort. You want to receive the best care possible during these times. That’s why it is essential to research in-home hospice care providers that deliver reliable, skillful, and empathetic care.

Inpatient Hospice Care

Some patients feel that they need care in an inpatient hospice facility as opposed to hospice care at home, especially if symptoms and pain are particularly distressing. However, continuous care from a leading home hospice services provider will offer the same level of care at home. Inpatient hospice care is still an option, but if you want to remain at home, seek out a hospice provider that can deliver this level of home care.

Respite Hospice Care

Respite care, the fourth level of hospice care, assists family caregivers who are delivering care to a loved one at home. At some point, a caregiver may need to take time off to attend to other responsibilities or return refreshed to continue helping.

While some patients receive respite care at an inpatient hospice facility, this isn’t necessary if you elect at-home hospice care that delivers individualized, exceptional services. Your family caregiver can request routine care or continuous respite services from your home hospice services provider.

Find Home Hospice Care that Delivers All Four Levels of Care at Home

When you begin researching hospice care, search for at-home hospice service that delivers all four levels of care in the event that you will need them. You also should ensure there is an option for respite care if your family caregiver plans on being responsible for your care during this time.

Use the following as a checklist to help you ask questions of the provider you are considering for hospice care in your home:

  • Does the provider assign a hospice care team, including a hospice physician and registered nurse case manager to deliver your care?
  • Are on-call nurses available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for continuous hospice care, when needed?
  • Will I be able to avoid an inpatient hospice care facility by receiving your services at home?
  • Are services available to address my physical, spiritual and emotional needs, such as a chaplain and medical social workers?
  • Do you provide all supplies and equipment required for my terminal illness?
  • Does the provider offer respite care to give my family caregiver time off when needed?
  • Do you have volunteers available for companionship? Will you provide help with bereavement for my family after my passing?

This phase of your life is about ensuring your needs are precisely cared for. You have a choice, so be sure to find a provider that is truly dedicated to compassionate care.

Learn more about what makes an effective home hospice services provider.

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