Levels of Care

Hospice care is a type of specialized care designed to provide comfort and support to individuals who are nearing the end of their lives due to terminal illness. It focuses on enhancing quality of life rather than attempting to cure the underlying condition. There are generally four levels of hospice care:

1. Routine Home Care: This is the most common level of hospice care and is provided in the patient’s home. It includes services such as pain and symptom management, medical equipment provision, emotional support, and assistance with activities of daily living. A hospice team consisting of nurses, doctors, social workers, counselors, and volunteers typically coordinates care.

2. Continuous Care: If a patient experiences a crisis or acute symptoms that cannot be managed at home, they may require continuous care. This level of care involves a hospice team providing around-the-clock nursing care in the patient’s home for a short period until their symptoms are under control.

3. Inpatient Respite Care: Sometimes, caregivers of hospice patients need a break or respite from their caregiving responsibilities. Inpatient respite care allows patients to stay in a hospice facility or hospital for a brief period (usually up to five days) to give their caregivers time to rest and recharge. During this time, the patient receives the same level of care as they would at home.

4. General Inpatient Care (GIP): If a patient’s symptoms cannot be managed at home or in a residential facility, they may require a higher level of care provided in an inpatient hospice facility or hospital. GIP is designed to provide intensive medical and nursing care to stabilize symptoms, manage pain, and ensure comfort.

The goal of hospice care at all levels is to improve the quality of life for patients and their families by addressing physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Hospice care also provides support and counseling to family members to help them cope with the challenges of caring for a terminally ill loved one.