Hospice Care While Living in a Nursing Home

For some patients with a terminal illness, their “home” is in a nursing home. A hospice may have contracts with some nursing homes in their vicinity to provide hospice care for patients in the nursing home. If you are interested in hospice care in a nursing home, ask your local nursing home which hospices they work with.

In a nursing home setting, hospice helps patients, families, and nursing home staff by providing:

  • Regular visits by a hospice Registered Nurse to the nursing home.
  • Consultations by a specialized hospice physician as needed.
  • Expert management of pain and other symptoms, such as problems breathing or swallowing.
  • Education for nursing home staff, patients and families about patients’ condition, symptoms, medications, and how to best care for patients’ medical needs during this phase of their illness.
  • Emotional and spiritual support for both the patient and their family during this phase of life. This includes help for the family before and after the patient dies.
  • Provides medications and supplies related to the patient’s terminal illness
  • Coordinating the patient’s care and medications across all of the patient’s medical providers, including the patient’s own doctors, hospice doctors, hospice nurses, hospice aides and all nursing home staff.

The nursing home is responsible for:

  • Communicating and coordinating patient’s care with the hospice.
  • Monitoring the patient’s condition and reporting any changes to the hospice.
  • The routine daily care for patients at the nursing home.
  • Normally scheduled medical care and examinations by the attending physician and medical director.
  • Providing medications and supplies for care not related to the patient’s terminal illness.
  • Keep in mind that hospice benefits do not usually cover the cost of housing a patient in a nursing home or assisted living facility (also known as daily room and board costs). However, these costs may be covered by traditional Medicare benefits or other benefits you have.