A is a peaceful, home-like residence where terminally ill people receive short-term . It is designed to provide a setting that is as close to home as possible, allowing for more freedom than a traditional facility. Hospice houses are typically run by not-for-profit organizations and are financed by donations, making them more economical for families who cannot afford skilled nursing facilities Unlike inpatient hospice units (IPUs), hospice houses work with several hospice providers, allowing families to choose the provider that best suits their needs. They also follow a more flexible visitation policy, allowing families to visit 24×7 without appointments.

A Hospice House

What if you are not able to take care of your loved one at their house or your house? What if you and your loved one do not want to go into any type of sterile facility such as assisted living or a skilled nursing facility? Is there anything that comes close to a home setting?

Yes! A is as close to home as you can get and often allows for more freedom than a facility, especially in the current age we live in with quarantines, lockdowns, and various other restrictions.

A hospice house is typically not considered an inpatient unit (IPU). A good hospice house will work with several hospice providers, allowing the family to choose which hospice provider will work best for them. A hospice house is typically run by a not-for-profit organization that converts a traditional home into one that serves the terminally ill and their families. They are financed by donations as well as through various other means often making it more economical for families who also cannot afford skilled nursing facilities.

What's the difference between an inpatient hospice unit (IPU) and a hospice house? Most IPU's are run by a solitary hospice organization (thereby removing the choice of which hospice provider), is often connected to a hospital or nursing home (therefore a more sterile environment), and is often staffed by doctors (who as in the nursing home setting may not be in the actual facility 24×7) and nurses as well as personal care technicians (PCT's) or certified nursing assistants (CNA).

IPU's tend to have the benefits of a more knowledgeable staff as most hospice houses are staffed by medical technicians (PCT's and CNAs with expended training) and rarely have nurses or doctors on staff relying on the individual hospice providers for their nurses, social workers, CNA's and so on. Yet, IPU's also have the issue of rules and regulations in this age which may impact how many visitors can be present at any one point in time. Furthermore, if they are obeying Medicare guidelines carefully, IPU's can only accept patients whose systems are uncontrolled in any other setting.

Hospice houses typically follow the home setting such that families can visit 24×7 without appointments, and there are no such rules as to only accepting patients whose symptoms would be uncontrolled anywhere else. This allows flexibility for families whose loved ones would prefer a home setting and yet are unable to live in their home or the home of a friend or relative.

If your loved one is on hospice at home, or maybe you know someone, and you feel the home setting isn't working out (sometimes it is hard for children to be children and caretakers at the same time or for spouses to be the spouse and caretaker at the same time), ask your if there are any hospice houses in the area.

Now a word of caution as I close… there are hospice providers who have been known to tell families they have a hospice house (when really it is an IPU) and that once they sign up (admit) their loved one can be placed in that hospice house (that is an IPU, not a true hospice house) …. only to find out after the admission bait-and-switch took place being told that their loved one doesn't meet the criteria (i.e. symptoms that cannot be controlled in the home setting), and they will re-evaluate once the patient gets closer to death. Part of preventing the bait and switch is asking direct questions such as is it a hospice house or an inpatient unit? Are other hospices allowed in the hospice house? What are the criteria to be relocated to the hospice house?

For those in York County, Pennsylvania, I strongly recommend Pappus House.

Conclusion

When considering for a loved one, a hospice house can provide a comforting and supportive environment that closely resembles home. It offers a viable alternative to traditional facilities, allowing for more personalized care and flexibility for both the patient and their family. However, it's important to ask direct questions to ensure that the facility truly meets the criteria of a hospice house. By understanding the differences between hospice houses and inpatient units, families can make informed decisions to provide the best possible care for their loved ones.

Resources

Understanding Hospice Care: Is it Too Early to Start Hospice?

What's the process of getting your loved one on hospice service?

Picking a hospice agency to provide hospice services

Medicare — Find and compare hospice providers

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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