Understanding the Continuous Care Benefit in Hospice Care

Published on February 26, 2023

Updated on November 25, 2023

offers a specialized service known as the Benefit. This unique care type provides crucial 24-hour support to patients who are going through an acute symptom crisis. In this article, we'll delve into what Benefit is, who's eligible for it, how it operates, why it's important, how to access it, and its duration.

Continuous Care Benefit Explained

Continuous care is a type of specifically designed to provide round-the-clock support for patients experiencing acute symptom crises. The primary objective is to manage these symptoms effectively to ensure the patient's comfort and enhance their overall quality of life.

Eligibility for Continuous Care Benefit

Indications For Continous Care Under Hospice

To qualify for continuous care, certain criteria must be met:

  1. Enrollment in Hospice Care: The patient must be enrolled in a hospice care program.
  2. Experiencing Acute Symptom Crisis: They should be going through an acute symptom crisis that cannot be managed through routine hospice care.
  3. Available Caregiver: A caregiver should be readily available to provide essential support during this time.

How Continuous Care Benefit Operates

Hospice Continuous Care Time Requirements

Continuous care is usually delivered at the patient's home, in a personal care home, or an assisted living facility. During this period, a dedicated hospice team provides continuous nursing care, effective medication management, and emotional support to both the patient and their family.

Importance of Continuous Care Benefit

The Continuous Care Benefit plays a vital role in helping patients during acute crises. It serves to prevent unnecessary hospitalizations and offers a comfortable and supportive environment for patients to spend their final moments with loved ones.

Accessing Continuous Care Benefit

To access continuous care benefit, the hospice team will assess whether the patient meets the eligibility criteria mentioned earlier. If eligible, they will collaborate with the patient's family and caregivers to establish a care plan that includes continuous care.

Duration of Continuous Care

Similar to General Inpatient (GIP) Care, one of the aims of continuous care is to eventually return to a “routine” level of care where the primary caregiver(s) can manage the symptoms without the constant presence of hospice staff. Once the patient's symptoms are under control, and a comprehensive plan for symptom management is in place, the hospice team will assist in transitioning back to routine care.

Conclusion

Continuous care benefit is a vital component of hospice care, providing essential 24-hour support for terminally ill patients during acute symptom crises. Its primary goal is to manage symptoms effectively to enhance patient comfort and their overall quality of life. Eligibility requires enrollment in hospice care, the presence of unmanageable acute symptoms, and an available caregiver. This service is delivered in the patient's home or a hospice facility, serving as a crucial tool in preventing unnecessary hospitalizations and creating a supportive environment for the patient's final moments. If you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to reach out to your hospice team.

Resources

What are the four levels of care in Hospice?

Continuous Home Care in the Medicare Hospice Benefit

The Importance of Caregiver Journaling

Reporting Changes of Condition to Hospice

Eldercare Locator: a nationwide service that connects older Americans and their caregivers with trustworthy local support resources

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