Hospice care provides essential medical relief and quality of life enhancement for those at the end of their lives. While health insurance plans like Medicare and Medicaid can cover or assist with the cost of hospice services, it is important to select the right types of hospice care to protect the patient’s health as well and use the benefits and resources that are necessary for an acceptable quality of living.
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Types of Hospice Care
When selecting the tier of service for your loved one, there are four levels of hospice care:
1. Routine Home Hospice Care
Routine care is the first tier of hospice that most patients use. At this level, the care provider will go to the patient’s place of residence, which is typically the family home. According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, 96.5% (based on statistics from 2012) of hospice patients fell under this level of care. The major plus to routine care is that everything is provided in the comfort of the patient’s home, which falls in line with hospice’s main goal of improving quality of life.
2. Respite Care
Respite care is a caretaking plan that revolves around the contributions of family caregivers. Caring for a loved one is a strenuous task that can induce fatigue even when the power of love is fueling the effort. Family caretakers may also have to deal with the normal activities of life such as work and caring for children, forcing them to take time away.
When family caretakers need a break to handle responsibilities or regain their energy, respite care gives them the opportunity to transfer caretaking duties to a medical care professionals for up to five days every three months. The details will be coordinated with the hospice provider in order to provide caregivers with some much-needed time off.
3. Continuous Care
As time moves forward, the chances that a life-threatening illness will induce moments of worry steadily increases. When symptoms of their condition flare up, family members may be tempted to move from home hospice care to taking up residence in a hospice facility.
Instead of transitioning immediately into an inpatient care environment, the care provider will begin an intensive care and monitoring period. The hospice professionals will be on site as much as 24-hours a day. This is to ensure the safety of the patient as much as possible. While the patient is receiving continuous care, family members should be prepared to move into the last tier of hospice care at any time due to the tenuous situation.
4. Inpatient Hospice Care
When the medical and caretaking requirements of the patient exceed what can reasonably be performed in a home environment, it is time to move to inpatient hospice care. By placing the patient in a controlled environment, the hospice care facility can better provide both general caretaking and medical services to them. Nurses and doctors will be able to respond to any emergencies in a timely fashion that simply would not be possible in a home environment.
Not every hospice patient will utilize the continuous care and inpatient options; in many cases, routine care is sufficient for the remainder of the patient’s life.
Choosing the Right Type of Hospice Care
Selecting the right type of hospice care relies on maintaining clear communication between the patient, their family members, and the medical care team. The most important factor is the health of the patient, so consult the primary care physician or hospice doctor to determine which types of hospice care are acceptable in their particular situation.
With careful thought and planning, each tier can provide a way for those in the twilight of their lives to face as little pain and suffering as possible.
Omni Care Hospice is a home hospice provider that offers all four levels of hospice care. Most patients find that routine and respite care options are the most sufficient for their situation, but we’d love to have a consultation with you to determine your needs. Call us at (702) 509-5276 if you have any questions, and feel free to download our home hospice care guide.