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“Does Medicare cover that?” How your hospice team can follow when problems arise

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Did you know there are different levels of hospice care? That’s right! Medicare covers four different levels of care. Not all plans of care look the same, as every patient has different needs. When you meet with the Envision team, we take into account your specific needs, your hopes and desires for the plan, and consider your preferences most of all.

When we have the privilege of meeting you and we start the intake process, we will discuss what level of care is needed for you or your loved one. There are many different reasons a family may be seeking hospice care for their loved one, and each unique situation drives the level of care.

So, what are the four levels of hospice care?

1. Routine

This is the most common form of care provided in the world of hospice. In this level, our multidisciplinary team is scheduled to visit the patient where they reside, whether that is at their home, their care facility, or the home of a family member. 

If you’re wondering what home hospice care might look like for your family, it’s possible that routine care may be the best route. Routine care with Envision is gentle, friendly, and approachable. Patients often experience more comfortable and prolonged lives with routine care. 

But maybe your loved one is in need of more intensive care. Perhaps they require treatment at a hospital and appreciate the comfort of hospice care. The second of the four levels of hospice care accommodates this.

2. General Inpatient

General inpatient care must take place at the hospital, due to a condition or injury suffered by the patient. Patients may already be receiving hospice care and may change to level 2 due to a short-term hospital stay. When they are well enough to come home, routine care can be resumed again.

Some patients choose to begin hospice care when they are already in the hospital. When symptoms can be controlled at home, they can be cared for by a compassionate team there. General inpatient care is provided through Envision Hospice by Medicare. When your loved one needs to visit the hospital, our care team can meet them there. Our team is here to walk with your family and loved one through any complications. 

Perhaps a patient does not require a hospital visit, but is experiencing continuous pain. Of the four levels of hospice care, the third addresses this scenario. 

3. Continuous Care

When a patient receives care at home, the team typically visits on a schedule. These visits can last from one to several hours, depending on the type of service being provided and the patient’s needs. However, sometimes a patient experiences a pain crisis and needs extra support. That’s where this level comes in.

Instead of a typical visit, the nurse and CNA (certified nurse’s aide) would provide an extended visit. Intervention from the medical team can lengthen to eight hours. This ensures the patient’s pain is properly managed and that they are made comfortable. 

Once the patient’s pain has been managed and they are well enough, routine care can resume, and visits can go back to their regular schedule.

But what about independent caregivers, like family members or paid aides? What happens when they need to take a break or travel? Medicare addresses this as well under the four levels of hospice care.

4. Respite Care

Therespite in respite care is for the caregiver. Often, we see family members taking charge of their loved one’s at-home care. They live with or near their loved one and are able to take care of their needs, while providing the comfort of home and love of family. 

But every caregiver needs a break every now and then. Respite care is designed to meet this need.

When a caregiver is rested and rejuvenated, they are able to care for their loved one better. Commonly, caregivers will take advantage of respite care around May, when there are college and high school graduations occurring. Visiting family out of town can be difficult, especially when caring full-time for someone with mobility limitations. It is totally reasonable to userespite care to make these breaks possible. 

Respite care can happen at home or at a facility. It’s not unusual to see a caregiver place their loved one in a care facility for a few days while they take their sabbatical. It’s important to take breaks from the work of caring for a family member or friend, and return fresh. 

It can be comforting to know that when it comes to hospice care, your needs can always be met through these four levels of care. Medicare is a great resource for those interested in hospice care, and we are happy to help you access it.


What is Medicare? It’s health insurance for individuals 65 years and older. As you age, it becomes increasingly important to care for your health and wellness. To learn more about Medicare, check out their website or ask one of our kindhearted team members to answer any of your questions.

Envision Hospice is dedicated to compassionate, understanding care. We are deeply invested in the comfort and health of our patients. We look forward to speaking with you about the kind of care you’re looking for.

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