The Four Levels of Hospice Care Outlined

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Coping with the death of a family member

Allow Yourself to Grieve

One of the most important things you can do when faced with the death of a loved one is to allow yourself to grieve. You may experience shock, anger, sadness, and can even feel lost or helpless. This is normal, but it is necessary to express these feelings because keeping them in will only lessen your ability to cope.

Talk to your family and friends about what you are feeling. It is likely that they are feeling the same emotions as you and talking about it will help you cope and find closure. Talking about your loved one after their death is also a great way to honor their memory and help you appreciate the moments you had with them. There are other ways to honor them as well, including donating to their favorite charities, planting a tree in their memory, or spending time with family to share stories and reminisce with photos of fun times. These kinds of activities, while they may seem difficult, will help you find closure and acceptance.

When you experience the death of a family member, you will be filled with many emotions and may also be required to do things like make funeral arrangements or work with their estate planners to carry out their final will. During this time, it is imperative that you take care of yourself and not neglect your needs – eat well, get plenty of rest, and try to continue doing the things that bring you joy. Whether this is exercise or spending time with friends, this will help you cope and keep a level head while dealing with other responsibilities.


Once a patient has decided to enter hospice care, the next step is to assess what level of care is most appropriate for the situation. 

There are four levels of hospice care that must be offered by Medicare-certified providers:

Which one the patient chooses will depend on a few factors, including the level of care they prefer, the amount of support they have from caregivers (both professional caregivers as well as family and friends), and the severity of their symptoms. Patients can also choose to move from one level of care to another as their condition evolves.

Here’s what to expect from each level of care.

Routine Care

Also known as routine home care or intermittent home care, routine care is the most common level of care for hospice patients. It’s possible for patients to stay at this level of care throughout their time in hospice care. Some patients do, however, move to other levels of care as needed. 

Routine care is tailored to the specific needs of the patient and usually involves regular visits from a health care provider who assists with pain relief, the management of symptoms, physical therapy, and other forms of medical and social support.

Continuous Care

Continuous care is geared toward patients who require a higher level of care to manage their symptoms, reduce pain, and maintain an acceptable quality of life. These patients typically have acute symptoms that need around the clock supervision, including overnight care. This level of care is also appropriate when the patient is approaching the very end of life and both they and their family need continuous support to manage the transition.

Inpatient Care

Inpatient care is similar to continuous care, except that it involves the patient receiving care in a dedicated facility, such as a nursing home, assisted living facility, or hospice care center. Some patients choose this level of care as a matter of preference, and for some it’s a matter of necessity as their symptoms are so severe that they need immediate medical attention.

Respite Care

Respite care is different from the other levels of care in that the primary recipient of the care is not the patient, but the patient’s primary caregiver. This level of care is an option when the patient is not receiving inpatient care or continuous care at home and the caregiver is not a medical professional. 

Being a caregiver for a relative or loved one is extremely demanding. In order to protect the caregiver’s own health and well-being, it’s important that they have access to support and breaks from providing care so that they can rest, relax, and attend to the important events in their own lives. Respite care offers this flexibility to caregivers for up to five days at a time.

How to determine the right level of hospice care

The best way to assess which level of care is right for your situation is to consult with hospice care providers. We have the experience and knowledge to help you evaluate your current and future needs. To find out more about the different levels of hospice care, contact us today to schedule your consultation.

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Westlake Village Hospice, Inc provides home hospice care for patients in Los Angeles, Arleta, Calabasas, Canoga Park, Burbank, Chatsworth, Encino, Glendale, Glenoaks, Granada HIlls, Hansen Hills, Hidden Hills, La Crescenta, Lake Balboa, Lake View Terrace, MIssion Hills, North Hills, North Hollywood, Northridge, Pacoima, Panorama City, Porter Ranch, Reseda, San Fernando, Shadow Hills, Sherman Oaks, Sun Valley, Sunland, Studio City, Sylmar, Tarzana, Thousand Oaks, Toluca Lake, Toluca Terrace, Tujunga, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys, Vergudo, West Hills, West Toluca Lake, Winnetka, Woodland Hills, Ventura County, Antelope Valley, and the San Fernando Valley.
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