A Guide to Hospice Levels of Care

Understanding the Different Care Options

Each of these levels of care is unique:

  1. Routine Hospice Care at Home. Most patients and families are familiar with this level of care. A hospice agency brings a variety of care and support services to the patient in whatever location they call home. Services can include: nursing care, assistance with personal care, volunteer companions, music therapy, massage therapy, spiritual care support, and more.
  2. Continuous Hospice Care at Home. If a hospice patient runs into a problem that can’t be managed with routine hospice care, they can be transitioned to a continuous level of care. It does not require them to relocate to a hospital or nursing home. Instead, increased services are brought to them to try to manage the acute condition. Hospice services can be provided up to 24 hours a day until the crisis passes.
  3. General Inpatient Care (GIP). In the event a patient’s care becomes so acute it cannot be managed at home, hospice may recommend they be moved to an inpatient care center on a short-term basis. It might be the palliative care unit at a hospital, an inpatient hospice center, or a nursing care community. Once their condition is stabilized again, they can return home.
  4. Respite Care. Medicare also makes a provision for the use of respite care. This level of care is designed to allow the family caregiver to take a break from the difficult job of caring for a loved one at the end of life. A hospice patient can be transferred to a hospital, inpatient hospice center, or nursing care community for up to five days. Medicare limits the respite benefit to one respite stay for every 90 days of hospice service.

If you have more questions, you can download Medicare Hospice Benefits. The sixteen page guide offers detailed explanations on everything from eligibility to finding a hospice provider near you.  Contact us to learn more about SpiriTrust Lutheran Home Care & Hospice.