Hospices provide terminally ill patients with medical care, pain management and spiritual and emotional support. It is generally reserved for patients who have received a diagnosis of having six months or less to live, and it can help make their remaining time as pleasant as possible. According to Statista, 1.49 million Americans were taken care of through hospice services in 2017.
Hospice care is different from a hospital because it considers input from the patient as well as their family, caregivers and doctors to develop the patient’s plan of care. This plan is constantly reviewed and adapted as their condition evolves. Every step of the way, the patient and their family are at the center of the care.
The Types Of Hospice Care
There are four main types of hospice care, and a patient might experience one or all of them during their time with hospice. Each level of care is designed to meet a patient’s unique needs.
In addition to physical care, all types of hospice care offer a chaplain and social worker to give patients and their families the right emotional, social and spiritual support. These four levels ensure that every terminally ill patient can get appropriate care through all the stages of their illness.
Routine Home Care
The most common type of hospice service is routine home care. This is delivered in a patient’s home, whether they are living at their own home, an assisted living center or a senior healthcare facility. It will include visits from home health nurse aids, RN case managers, licensed practical nurses, social workers, spiritual care specialists, community educators and volunteers.
Many patients prefer this type of care because they are more comfortable in the familiar surroundings of their own home. It also makes it easier for family members and friends to visit on their own schedule.
The hospice team will deliver medical equipment and medications to the home and start making regular visits according to the patient’s needs. Some team members might visit daily, while others will come once per week or as needed. Patients will generally have access to 24/7 telecare services that can be used to answer questions and dispatch a professional to the patient’s home if necessary.
Continuous Home Care
Continuous home care is a more intensive version of routine home care that provides assistance around the clock to help patients experiencing acute symptoms such as uncontrolled pain or nausea, breathing trouble, bleeding, agitation, seizures or changes in consciousness. It is normally only carried out over a brief period to help a patient stay at home through a difficult time.
General Inpatient Care
For patients who are suffering from symptoms that cannot be managed effectively via home care, general inpatient care is recommended. This is usually short-term in nature and can take place in the hospice unit of a hospital or long-term care residence.
However, many patients prefer the more peaceful setting of a dedicated free-standing hospice facility for this type of care. In-patient hospices tend to be calmer and more like home than a hospital with a hurried pace. Arrangements can be made for visitors to stay overnight as needed.
This type of hospice care may be used for people experiencing a sudden deterioration in their condition that requires intensive intervention, unmanageable respiratory distress, acute anxiety or delirium, uncontrolled seizures or pain. The type of care offered is similar to that of continuous care, with the main difference being the setting in which the care is delivered.
Respite care is a type of inpatient hospice care that is only carried out in the short term, typically to give family caregivers some rest. Taking care of a loved one who is terminally ill can be physically and mentally exhausting, and this allows caregivers some time to themselves.
Caregivers sometimes feel guilty about taking some time off, but well-rested caregivers can provide the greatest level of care for their loved ones. A short break from their responsibilities can provide them with a better outlook on the situation and a reduction in stress and anxiety.
It might be used when the family caregiver needs relief from their caregiving duties to recover from an illness, attend an important event, travel or simply unwind. It is often limited in terms of the number of days it can be used, but it is a good option for people who need more intensive care only occasionally.
Respite care might also be used when the patient needs a type of care that cannot easily be provided at home for just a short period.
Reach Out To Harbor Light Hospice
Harbor Light Hospice understands that everyone’s situation is unique and that each person needs a tailored care plan. Whether your loved one just needs minor help with daily activities or round-the-clock care, reach out to the Harbor Light Hospice team to learn how they can make this time easier. They offer in patient and home hospice care, including respite care, with friendly and experienced support along the way.