What is Hospice?

Hospice is a supportive service focused on pain and symptom management to individuals with a life limiting illness. The hospice focus is to treat the whole person – body, mind, and spirit – and not just the disease.

The purpose of hospice is to enable patients to remain alert and carry on a pain free lifestyle. Hospice affirms the human spirit and allows the patient dignity, comfort and support when aggressive medicine is no longer desired or appropriate.

What are the levels of care provided by hospice?

There are four levels of hospice care.  A hospice patient may be admitted under one level of care but find they require a different level throughout the disease process.  You may be transferred to levels of care depending on symptoms or disease progression.

  • ROUTINE:  Visits by the hospice team are provided and based on the needs of the individual and family.  This includes medication, supplies, and equipment related to the life limiting diagnosis.  Routine visits can be provided in private homes, extended care facilities (i.e.: personal care, assisted living) and nursing facilities (i.e.: skilled nursing homes).
  •  INPATIENT:  Provides short term clinical management for pain and symptom management in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.  All hospice services are covered, including room and board.  This is a short term level of care to alleviate immediate clinical issues. 
  • RESPITE:  5-day accommodations for the patient in a licensed nursing facility designed to provide the caregiver with time to rest, recuperate or for personal time.
  • CONTINUOUS CARE:  Higher level of care used during a medical crisis. Provides a minimum of 8 hours of Hospice care and is reassessed every 24 hours to ensure that immediate clinical needs are addressed, particularly during the actively dying process.