What is Continuous care in hospice?

Continuous Care for terminally ill patients is one of four types of hospice care covered by the Medicare Hospice Benefit. This round-the-clock level of care is provided in the home for brief periods of time when the patient is experiencing a crisis. It is designed to honor a patient’s wish to remain at home by providing the care needed to control the patient’s symptoms and alleviate the crisis.

When is hospice continuous care appropriate? 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regulations state: “Continuous home care may only be provided during a period of crisis as necessary to maintain an individual at home. A period of crisis is a period in which a patient requires continuous care that is predominantly nursing care to achieve palliation or management of acute medical symptoms.”

This type of care may be provided in the patient’s home or a long-term-care facility. It is not applicable for patients in an in-patient hospice unit, a hospital, or skilled nursing facility.

What types of symptoms require continuous care? 

Hospice continuous care is designed to quickly alleviate uncontrolled symptoms in a time of crisis. These symptoms might include: 

  • Severe pain
  • Bleeding
  • Acute respiratory distress
  • Unrelenting nausea and vomiting
  • Terminal agitation or restlessness

If a hospice patient is actively declining, but their symptoms are under control, they do not qualify for continuous hospice care under the CMS regulations.

HyperCare: Honoring patient wishes. 

As the patient reaches their final hours, Varco Hospice activates its HyperCare program, providing round-the-clock care. This unique hospice care program was created because of a belief in two of Varco Hospice’s driving principles of end-of-life care: 

  • No one should die alone.
  • No one should die in pain.

Even when the patient’s symptoms are well-managed, Varco Hospice is there to provide support to the patient and their family in this final transition.

Please call us at 713-581-9190 to learn more about the stages of hospice care and the support that Varco Hospice provides.