Hospice care is an undeniably challenging subject to discuss, yet its importance, particularly as someone approaches the end of life, cannot be overstated. Addressing the realities of terminal illness and the emotional toll that it takes on people and their loved ones requires great sensitivity, as well as compassion. Hospice care provides a supportive framework that prioritizes comfort, dignity, and quality of life in the final stages of a person’s journey.

Receiving hospice care can provide comfort and compassionate support for hospice clients, as well as their family members, during a truly difficult time. A Medicare-certified hospice provider must meet certain criteria to engage in the provision of such services. Depending on the individual needs and circumstances, these services can be provided in a skilled nursing facility, an inpatient hospice facility, an assisted living facility, and even at home with the help of family members and/or full-time caregivers.

A Medicare-certified hospice agency currently can provide four levels of services which includes inpatient hospice, home hospice, respite hospice, and continuous homecare. Hospice agencies employ teams of doctors, clinicians, caregivers, and counselors who are trained to provide myriad services such as symptom control, pain management as well as emotional and spiritual support.

This allows hospice clients and their families to spend quality time together while also receiving guidance and support throughout the end-of-life journey.

The First Level of Hospice Care Is Inpatient Hospice

Inpatient hospice care is typically the first level of care individuals receive when beginning their hospice journey. Many can benefit from round-the-clock nursing care and support in an inpatient facility setting, such as a hospital or dedicated hospice center like the Grove at The Redwoods. Hospice recipients and their family members will receive routine home care as well as emotional support for difficult decisions that may arise during end-of-life care.

The Second Level of Hospice Care Is Home Hospice

Home hospice, the second level of hospice care, allows hospice clients to receive continuous and routine home care services. This gives them the comfort of remaining in their own homes while being cared for by a multidisciplinary team of professionals such as nurses, doctors, and other specialists. Furthermore, home hospice provides great support so that family caregivers can spend quality time with their loved ones.

Home care visits are especially helpful when symptoms require extra attention from a professional; hospice staff can provide person-specific treatments and extra monitoring as needed.

The Third Level of Hospice Care Is Respite Hospice

Respite hospice care is the third level of hospice care and is designed to provide short-term, continuous care in a hospital or nursing facility for hospice clients while temporarily relieving their family caregiver(s) from providing around-the-clock care at home.

This level includes routine medical attention from doctors and nurses, medical social services to keep the person comfortable, and specific types of pain control that may not be available with routine care.

Bereavement counseling is also offered to family members both before and after the hospice client’s passing. The purpose of respite hospice care is to allow family caregivers to take regular breaks while ensuring that the hospice client receives all necessary care.

The Fourth and Final Level of Hospice Care Is Continuous Homecare

Continuous home care is the most intense level of hospice care, providing medical support around the clock for hospice clients with severe medical needs. It involves medical interventions to control and relieve extreme pain, allowing the individual to maintain a good quality of life while their condition progresses.

Although this blog post is only a high-level overview of the complex subject of hospice care, our hope is that this may serve as a conversation starter. Grappling with impending loss of life is a deeply emotional and jarring experience, to the say least. Working with a hospice agency to alleviate some of that burden can help provide more opportunities to create meaningful memories during the most challenging moments of life. Simply stated, the primary objective of hospice care is to help individuals spend their remaining time in a peaceful environment, and to help maintain quality of life. By acknowledging the difficult reality of death, we can reframe the conversation to what can be done to give what each person deserves, a good end.

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