Understanding the Levels of Hospice Care

By its very nature, hospice care is holistic. This means attention is given to the physical, emotional, social, psychological and spiritual needs of patients.

This care is offered at three levels, including routine care, respite care and inpatient care.

Routine Care

  • Delivered at home or wherever the patient may call home (possibly a nursing home or other assisted living facility).
  • Medication may be given to alleviate symptoms.
  • A nurse may visit a few times a week to provide a higher level of care, but the majority of care is provided by family and friends, if the patient is at home.
  • Social workers, chaplains and hospice volunteers may visit.

Respite Care

  • Offered when a patient’s family or other close caregivers need a break. Taking care of a loved one can be exhausting at times, and respite care offers a needed break for caregivers to rest or attend to other areas of their lives.
  • Provided occasionally for a maximum of five days every 90 days.
  • Can be provided in a hospital, long-term facility or short-term hospice home.

General Inpatient Care

  • When symptoms are not well controlled, patients may be admitted to a higher level of care for aggressive symptom management.
  • May be given in a hospital or dedicated hospice facility.