When discussing Hospice for the first time, people often assume Hospice is a place—however it’s actually better described as a “concept of care.” While Hospice does contract with facilities to serve patients with higher acuity in a “place”, the vast majority of hospice patients are served entirely in the comfort of their own homes.
In fact, a recent study by National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization found that the national average for hospice-facility-based care is less than 3% of the total hospice population.
Medicare Hospice covers all professional services, medicines, equipment, and supplies that are related to the terminal illness. Care is provided where ever the patient lives, be it a facility, group home, or private home. Access to General Inpatient Care (GIP) is made available to all hospice patients who are in need of pain control or symptom management that cannot be provided in any other setting.
In order to best serve a patient’s individual needs, Medicare and most private insurance carriers offer four different levels of hospice care. These levels include:
- Routine Care (RT)
- Respite Care (RC)
- General Inpatient Care (GIP)
- Continuous Care (CC)
This article is focused on the General Inpatient (GIP) level of Care. GIP is for patients facing complex care needs over short periods of time. It’s used when the hospice team cannot realistically provide care in any other setting. If it is determined that the patient has a qualified need (based on Medicare standards) for GIP, the patient will have the choice to move to an inpatient hospice setting for skilled care to alleviate the symptoms. The hospice will then obtain a physician’s order and contact the facility to make a plan for transfer.
Typical reasons for general inpatient care include out of control pain, unrelenting nausea and vomiting, seizures, complex wound card, behavioral changes needing complex medication management or other medical symptoms that cannot be managed elsewhere. Interventions are palliative focused. Aggressive, diagnostic or life prolonging treatment is not appropriate for general inpatient hospice care. Hospice GIP facilities are staffed with Registered Nurses 24-hours a day, 7 days a week to actively attend to patient symptoms. Core-staff from the hospice visit the facility at least daily to attend to the patient’s needs. Hospice facilities offer care that is administered and monitored in real time; tasks which would otherwise be difficult to perform at home. The nurses and staff of the inpatient facility and the patient’s hospice staff all work together to provide care in accordance with the established hospice plan of care. GIP is not intended to be long-term, custodial or residential care.
Once the patient’s symptoms are under control, the hospice will then focus on returning the patient home to routine care. If the patient is unable to return to their home, the hospice will assist in finding a new place to live that is more suitable. While insurance generally covers hospice care, it typically does not cover room and board for routine level of care. The hospice team will help you review your insurance plans and any financial issues to help you find the most affordable care.
Allegiant Hospice has relationships with dedicated Hospice and Skilled Nursing Facilities all across the Valley. Using our network of licensed, inspected, and trusted facilities we’re able to keep your loved one as close to home as possible. We believe it’s important for family, friends, and loved ones to visit (if they wish) and we work to make it as convenient as possible for everyone.