There are four types of hospice care available, based on whether the patient remains at home or in a facility, and on whether their symptoms are controlled or uncontrolled.
If the patient’s symptoms are manageable and they feel physically well enough to remain at home, they are eligible for routine home care, the simplest form of hospice care. This is also referred to as outpatient hospice care.
Here, the patient may carry on with their daily life as much as possible, with consistent visits from doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, and spiritual caregivers to check in on them. Patients do not necessarily need a nurse to be constantly present, though nurses are on call 24/7.
During home hospice care, the patient also receives assistance with medications and any medical equipment that may need to be moved into the home.
Respite care is available if the family, nurse, or other caregiver needs a break. The patient is moved to a facility with 24 hour care and similar amenities to what they have at home. Under Medicare, a patient can stay at a respite care facility for up to five days.
There may come a point where the patient’s condition becomes so serious that they need 24 hour monitoring. Examples of uncontrolled symptoms include continuous nausea or vomiting, severe pain, bleeding, acute respiratory distress, unbearable anxiety or other mental issues.
In this case, a nurse is assigned to keep constant watch on the patient, administering medication and easing their symptoms as much as possible. If the symptoms subside, the patient may be able to move back to routine home care.
This is the most serious form of hospice care, and is undertaken when drastic measures are needed to control the patient’s symptoms. The patient is moved to a facility with constant medical monitoring and watched around the clock by doctors and nurses. Generally, inpatient care is only necessary when the patient needs to be monitored moment by moment.
A patient’s condition can change rapidly, and they may need to move in and out of these various types of care. They may switch between their home and a hospital, continuous and noncontinuous monitoring, or both. Hospice physicians and nurses are trained to respond to changing circumstances and recommend the best course of action.
La Bella Vita Hospice, Inc. provides home hospice care for patients in Los Angeles, Ventura County, Antelope Valley, and the San Fernando Valley. © Copyright 2019 - All Rights Reserved.
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