The Medicare Hospice Benefit provides for four different levels of hospice care, depending on the needs of the terminally ill patient.
- Routine home care (most common) is provided in the patient’s home or a long-term care facility.
- Inpatient respite care consists of up to 5 consecutive days of inpatient hospice care to provide relief to a family caregiver.
- General inpatient hospice care is provided for the patient whose home environment is no longer a safe care setting or the patient whose symptoms are no longer manageable in the home setting.
- Continuous home care is provided only for a crisis (psychosocial or medical) that would otherwise lead to a need for inpatient hospice care. The patient must be requiring at least 8 hours of nursing -level hospice care for it to be classified as continuous home care. Less than 8 hours of nursing-level care is classified as routine home care under the Medicare Hospice Benefit.