4 Types of Hospice Care

March 23, 2016

Hospice care is specialized healthcare for terminally ill patients that is intended to ease their pain and allows them to live the rest of their lives in comfort. When most people imagine hospice, what usually comes to mind are inpatient hospice services, which are delivered in a healthcare setting. What they may not know is that there are generally four types of hospice care, two of which are carried out in the home. If you or a loved one will be in need of hospice services in Pittsburgh, here are some things you should know about each type of hospice care.

Routine Home Care

Routine home care is the most common hospice service and typically includes- RN case managers, LPNs, home health nurse aides, social workers, community educators, spiritual care specialists, volunteers and more. As the name implies, routine home care is delivered in the patient's home, whether that is a traditional residence or a facility in the realm of senior healthcare services, such as a nursing home, personal care, assisted living center, or retirement living community.

Continuous Home Care

Continuous home care is far more intensive than routine home care and involves continuous care to manage a patient's acute symptoms. Patients in need of this type of hospice care typically receive around-the-clock care from hospice caregivers.

General Inpatient Care

General inpatient care is typically for treating symptoms that cannot be managed through home care. General inpatient hospice care is usually short-term and can be provided in a few different places. Sometimes, it is provided in the hospice unit of a hospital. It can also be provided in a long-term care residence. For many patients and their families, the most peaceful setting for this type of hospice care is in a free-standing hospice facility.

Respite Care

Respite care is short-term inpatient care that is intended to be for the benefit of family caregivers as well as the patients. Caring for a critically or terminally ill loved one can be difficult for all involved, and sometimes the patient is admitted to a hospice unit for a short period of time when they need the kind of care that cannot be provided in the home, or when the family caregiver needs a break. Respite care typically has a limit, in terms of number of days, and can usually only be delivered on occasion. It is for qualifying hospice patients, in accordance with Medicare guidelines. Not all inpatient hospice services offer respite care, but it can be a relief for patients who require more intensive care on occasion.

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A Final Word on Hospice Care

Many people have misconceptions about hospice care. While it is true that most people who receive hospice care are terminally ill, the goal of inpatient hospice services and home hospice services is to provide comfort and improve quality of life. Hospice patients receive full medical care, but not curative care- meaning the care they receive is intended to provide comfort and symptom management, not a cure. Some patients, on extremely rare cases, recover to the point where they no longer need hospice services for the time being.

Some hospitals and senior healthcare service providers offer hospice care to patients who need it. Hospice can be confusing and overwhelming. Here is a comprehensive list of terms a hospice patient’s family may hear in the near future. For more clarification on any of these terms, or if you and your family are ready to take the next step, Good Samaritan Hospice, a mission of Concordia, is ready to show you how our quality care can make a difference in your life. Call us toll free at 1-800-720-2557 or message us for more information, and schedule a tour of one of our three beautiful inpatient hospice facilities.


  • Comment Link Sariah Meagle posted by Sariah Meagle on Oct 11, 2017 5:54 PM

    My parents are thinking whether to choose hospice care for my grandfather who is terminally ill. This article gives an insight of the different types of hospice care according to the patient's needs. Thanks for the information!

  • Comment Link Johnny McCarron posted by Johnny McCarron on Feb 27, 2017 9:43 PM

    I really like that you pointed out that many people have misconceptions about hospice care. That is unfortunate as many people could benefit from such care. Do you have any other tips about finding good hospice care? My grandma made need it soon, and I want to make sure that I approach that conversation appropriately.

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