Outpatient vs Inpatient Hospice Care: What’s the Difference

Outpatient vs Inpatient Hospice Care: What’s the Difference

Last Updated on June 19, 2024 by Frank Davis

Having a terminal illness is hard enough without the added struggle of figuring out which type of hospice care will work best for you and your family. There are two main types: inpatient and outpatient.

This blog post will explore and compare the differences between both, as well as help you make an informed decision on what would be best for your situation.

What is Hospice Care

Hospice provides medical and other health-related services to terminally ill patients and their families. The goal of hospice is to ensure that these patients live as comfortably and with as much dignity as possible during their final days, weeks or months of life. “Hospice” comes from the word “hospitium,” which means a place for guests or travelers to stay. It’s offered by hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, community centers and other facilities.

Outpatient vs. inpatient hospice care

Hospice care is typically provided in two ways: as an outpatient service or as an inpatient service. Which type of hospice program is best for you depends on your condition, prognosis and living situation. Your doctor will discuss with you whether your care should be managed at home (outpatient), or if you should be admitted into a hospital or nursing home (inpatient).

Outpatient hospice care is the most common type of hospice care, and is offered by most hospice agencies across the country. The term “outpatient” means that you’ll be receiving your care at home. You’ll have access to hospice nurses, social workers, trained volunteers and other staff members who will help you cope with your disease, treat your symptoms and offer you emotional support. However, if your condition worsens or if certain symptoms begin appearing, you may need to be hospitalized so that the proper medical care can be provided.

The term “inpatient” means that you’ll receive your care in a hospital or nursing home facility rather than at home. You’ll receive around-the-clock care from hospice nurses, social workers and other hospice staff who are specially trained to deal with end-of-life issues. In the hospital, you’ll be able to receive palliative pain management, comfort measures and other treatment. You’ll be kept comfortable with a wide range of services and activities.

Advantages of Outpatient Hospice Care

Receiving care at home is a good choice for many people because it allows the patient to be cared for by his or her family members and friends. In addition, most patients enjoy the familiarity of their own living environment and the comforts of their own home. It may also be a better choice for those who wish to avoid going to a hospital out of fear, anxiety or distaste.

Outpatient hospice care eliminates travel requirements to the hospital or nursing home. Many patients say that it’s easier to get in and out of the house than they would find at a hospital or nursing home. Most people prefer their own living space and most homes have enough space for one or two beds. Hospice is not structured like a hospital, and your care will be monitored and administered by your hospice medical team.

However, receiving hospice care at home can be more difficult on family members. For example, family members must sometimes give round-the-clock care to the patient and should be prepared to handle the emotional stress that comes with caring for a loved one during such difficult times.

If you’d prefer to receive hospice care at home, you should first prepare your family by discussing your end-of-life plan with them. If you have concerns about your ability to cope at home, discuss them with your doctor or hospice nurse beforehand. He or she can determine whether the care provided will be adequate for you.

Advantages of Inpatient Hospice Care

For terminally ill patients, ambulation is very important. If you live in the hospital around the clock, you will have easy access to medical care at any time. In addition, the nurses and other hospice staff will be available around the clock to give you physical and emotional support. This is especially important for patients who are not able to communicate well or who have limited vision or hearing.

Inpatient hospice care is generally a good choice if the family cannot provide adequate care for the patient at home. If family members are finding it difficult to cope with the demands of caregiving, then the patient may need to be admitted into hospice inpatient care. In addition, some families may not be emotionally or physically able to provide care at home.

Inpatient hospice is also a good choice for individuals who live alone. It can be hard for a person to cope with end-of-life issues when he or she lives alone and has no one available for emotional support. Hospice inpatient care can offer a social environment in which patients can interact with other terminally ill people, as well as medical personnel and volunteers who are trained in providing emotional support.


Outpatient hospice care is often considered to be the best choice for individuals who are comfortable with their own home surroundings. Either type of hospice care may be an appropriate choice for you. You’ll want to discuss this decision with your doctor, nurse or social worker so that you can make an informed decision on what type of hospice program would be best for you.

Hospice care is generally covered by Medicare or Medicaid. For more information about hospice care, call Hospice Valley of Los Angeles at (747) 755-5181.

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