Hospice care is considered the gold standard for quality compassionate care for people facing terminal illness (6 months or less to live). It provides expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes. Support is also provided to the patient’s family. Hospice focuses on caring, not curing, and can be provided in the patient’s home, a nursing home, an assisted living facility, or inpatient hospice facility.
Members of the hospice team make regular visits to assess the patient and provide additional care or other services. Hospice staff are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The hospice team develops a care plan to meet each patient’s individual needs for pain management and symptom control. This interdisciplinary team usually consists of the patient’s personal physician; hospice physician or medical director; nurses; hospice aides; social workers; bereavement counselors; clergy or other spiritual counselors; trained volunteers; and speech, physical, and occupational therapists, if needed.
The hospice team:
The best way to think of the hospice team is as a group of end-of-life specialists. As such, they are never intended to replace whoever the patient’s primary caregiver is - whether that be family or facility staff. Instead, they are there to work with others to ensure that the goals of hospice – comfort and dignity – are achieved.
Hospice patients may require differing intensities of care during the course of their illness. While hospice patients may be admitted at any level of care, changes in their status may require a change in their level of care.
The Medicare Hospice Benefit affords patients four levels of care to meet their clinical needs: 1) Routine Home Care, 2) Continuous Home Care, 3) Inpatient Respite Care, and 4) General Inpatient Care. Payment for each covers all aspects of the patient’s care related to their terminal illness, including all services delivered by the interdisciplinary team, medication, medical equipment, and supplies.
Routine Home Care is for patients whose symptoms are well managed. This level of care is provided in a patient’s home which can be a private residence, apartment, assisted living facility, or nursing home.
General Inpatient Care is for patients experiencing an acute medical crisis that requires intensive nursing management. This level of care is provided at the Rainbow Hospice Care Inpatient Center in Johnson Creek.
Continuous Care, also known as crisis care, is for patients experiencing a serious symptomatic crisis. This care can be provided in the patient’s private residence, assisted living facility, or nursing home.
Respite Care is available to hospice patients whose families need a break from the rigors of caregiving at home. This level of care is provided at the Rainbow Hospice Care Inpatient Center in Johnson Creek.