Levels of Hospice Care

Hospice care is a type of care that helps terminally ill patients spend their last days or weeks in as comfortable and peaceful a setting as possible. There are four levels of hospice care defined by Medicare, which are routine home care, continuous home care, general inpatient care, and respite care.

Routine home care is the least intensive level of hospice care and consists of providing personal assistance to the patient at their home. This includes things like providing meals, bathing and dressing the patient, laundering their clothes, handling medications, and providing companionship. 

Continuous home care is the next level up and involves providing around-the-clock personal assistance to the patient. This includes taking them to doctor's appointments, filling out medical forms for them, assisting with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing and eating, and helping them access social services. 

General inpatient hospice care is the most intensive level of hospice service and typically involves hospitalized patients who are receiving round-the-clock personal assistance from nurses or caregivers. It also usually includes more sophisticated interventions than routine or continuous home hospice services do, such as pain management and psychological support. 

Relaxation therapy sessions are also common in general inpatient hospice care to help patients cope with stressors that may come with their illness or condition.