Types of Hospice Care

Several types of care can be provided when the patient is admitted to hospice. The physician and hospice nurse must authorize changes in level of care.

Routine Care

This is care provided in the individual's home. The care is delivered by specially trained registered nurses and home health aides. Home visits are made by RNs. Weekly frequency is based upon patient needs. Home health aides visit up to five times per week, if needed. Assistance with activities of daily living, skilled nursing care and symptom and pain management are provided. The RN coordinates the care with the patient and family and provides routine care and services related to their discipline.

Nursing Home Care

Routine care, as defined above, can also be delivered to individuals residing in long-term care facilities or nursing homes. The care delivered is in addition to the normal nursing care provided by the facility and is covered by Medicare under a separate benefit. This Hospice Medicare benefit allows the individual to maintain his or her residence in the nursing care facility.

Respite Care

Respite care is routine care provided to the patient admitted to a nursing care facility for up to five days. The transfer of the individual to the care facility is to assist family members by providing an opportunity for the primary caregiver to rest. To those eligible, Medicare covers respite care costs as part of the Hospice Medicare benefit.

Continuous Care

If the patient's condition deteriorates, requiring a higher level of nursing care, continuous care may be provided. When the patient's situation improves, service returns to routine care. The Hospice Medicare benefit covers the cost of continuous care when appropriate; however, some restrictions apply.