Medicare/MediCal recognizes the four (4) levels of hospice care. The hospice team works with the patient’s doctor to choose the right level of care for the patient. The four (4) levels of care are:

  • Routine Home Care – Available wherever the patient calls home (board and care, assisted living, or private residence). Members of the hospice team will visit the patient based on the plan of care. It can be a few times a week, once a week, or whenever the patient needs it.
  • Continuous Care – Available when patient experiences a medical crisis, such as the development of a new symptom and the family requires the assistance of a skilled professional. Continuous care is SHORT TERM and for BRIEF CRISIS periods only with 8-24 hour shifts daily.
  • General Inpatient Care – Hospice care can be given to the patient for a short time (maximum of 6 days) in a healthcare facility like a skilled nursing facility. This happens when a patient’s symptoms cannot be managed at home.
  • Respite Care – This type of care is provided to caregivers and families who need a break in giving care to their loved ones. Patients can be transferred to a healthcare facility for up to five (5) days to provide respite.

What Kind of Services Should I Expect from a Hospice?

Hospice services are available to patients with life-limiting illnesses who can no longer benefit from curative treatment and usually have a life expectancy of six months or less as determined by the physician.

  • Physician services for the medical direction of the patient’s care, provided by either the patient’s personal physician or a physician affiliated with a hospice program.
  • Regular home care visits by registered nurses and licensed practical nurses to monitor the patient’s condition, provide appropriate care, and maintain patient comfort
  • Home health aide and homemaker services, attending to the patient’s personal needs
  • Chaplain services for the patient and/or loved ones
  • Social work and counseling services
  • Bereavement counseling to help patients and their loved ones with grief and loss
  • Medical equipment (i.e., hospital beds)
  • Medical supplies (i.e., bandages and catheters)
  • Medications for symptom control and pain relief
  • Volunteer support to assist loved ones
  • Physical, speech, and occupational therapy
  • Dietary counseling
caregiver supporting an elderly woman with crutches