Does hospice provide 24-hour care?

Stacie Karczmiarz
Oncology Nursing

It can depend on which hospice... just in my area alone there are three separate and independent, individual hospices- although I believe there are rules regulating how close they can be to one another and the territories they cover etc.-

Although, even though each hospice does things a bit differently, they all offer the same services. I would assume this to be the same nation-wide. For the most part, hospice services provide more of a visit-type service to the patient versus 24-hour care. The patient would receive weekly visits from nursing; as well as visits from a chaplain and a social worker. If needed a home health aid would also be available for a couple visits a week to assist with bathing and dressing. Hospice also pays for all medications related to the terminal diagnosis, as well as any needed medical equipment.

If the patient is in crisis, either experiencing an uncontrolled symptom such as pain or difficulty breathing, or the patient is actively dying; under these circumstances hospice does and will provide 24-hour care. A one on one nurse can be sent to the patient's place of residence for up to 72 hours to assist with a patient in need. Another option if the patient needs 24 hour care is the inpatient unit. Most hospices have an inpatient unit where patients can go to receive care as well; they are meant for short-term stays but as long as the patient continues to have a symptom that needs treatment, they may continue to stay in the unit and receive 24 hour care.

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