Four Levels of Hospice Care
Choosing the right hospice care provider
Hospice care provides care and support physically, emotionally, and spiritually to individuals and their loved ones during the final days, weeks, or months of life. The focus of hospice care is to enhance the quality of life for those facing a life-limiting illness and allow them to spend their final moments with the ones they love. Medicare defines four levels of hospice care, each of which meets the varying needs of patients and their families.
What are the four levels of hospice care?
1. Routine home care:
Routine home care is the most common level of hospice care. It is typically provided in the patient’s home but can also be provided in a nursing or assisted living facility. This level of hospice care involves a team approach by hospice staff, and a primary physician to provide quality care and comfort at the end of an individual’s life.
2. Continuous home care:
Continuous home care happens when an individual is experiencing a medical crisis such as severe pain or shortness of breath. With this level of care, a nurse stays with the patient for an extended period of time. Continuous home care is also typically provided within the patient’s home.
3. General inpatient care:
General inpatient care is provided when an individual is experiencing a medical crisis and requires an advanced level of care. This level of care is provided in an inpatient care facility such as a hospital or nursing facility. The goal of inpatient hospice care is to control pain and symptoms so the individual can return home to resume hospice care.
4. Respite care:
Respite care is temporary care that is provided by an inpatient nursing facility or hospice volunteers so that family caregivers can take a needed break to care for personal needs. This level of care is available to support caregiver needs, not control patient symptoms.
How to determine the appropriate level of hospice care
The goal of hospice care is to help individuals at the end of their life have peace, comfort, and dignity. The level of hospice care needed throughout the journey will be determined by the patient’s hospice care team and primary care provider. Knute Nelson Hospice will assess the patient and their needs to determine the best level of hospice to provide the highest quality of care. Patients can receive hospice care wherever they call home.
How to choose a hospice care provider
Choosing hospice care for yourself or a loved one can be difficult and overwhelming. Many hospice providers offer the same level of basic care, but it’s the care beyond the basics that can make a world of difference. It is important to ask questions to determine which hospice provider best suits the needs of yourself or your loved one. Some questions to ask might include:
What services are available throughout the hospice care journey?
How will my family and loved ones be supported?
Who will be a part of my care team?
How are pain and other symptoms managed?
How quickly will the hospice team respond when I need them?
How often will a hospice team member visit and how long will visits last?
Knute Nelson Hospice offers support, comfort, and care to patients and family members throughout the hospice journey and beyond. This includes several life enriching services to enhance the quality of life for our patients as well as 13 months bereavement care to support family members following the passing of their loved one. Our hospice team is available to answer all of the above questions and more when it comes to your search for the perfect hospice care provider, contact us.
Is it the right time for hospice care?
Not sure whether it is time to consider hospice care for yourself or a loved one? Take our free online assessment which addresses some of the most common hospice indicators and can help you make a more informed decision on whether hospice care might be the right choice. For additional questions and information about Knute Nelson Hospice, please call our team at (320) 335-8690 or fill out a form.
Last updated December 7th, 2023
Meet the Author
Lisa Dingwall is a dedicated healthcare professional with over two decades of experience, currently serving as the Director of Knute Nelson Hospice. Her educational journey began at Alexandria Technical and Community College, where she earned her Licensed Practical Nurse degree, followed by a Registered Nurse degree from Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Fergus Falls, and a Bachelor of Nursing from Rasmussen University.
Her diverse career encompassed roles in long term care, clinical settings, home health care, oncology, and hospice, each enriching her expertise in patient care. Throughout her journey, Dingwall demonstrated exceptional leadership, fostering a culture of excellence and continuous improvement. As the Director of Hospice, she remains unwavering in her commitment to providing compassionate end-of-life care, guiding patients and their families through life’s most profound transitions.