Can an Elderly Person With Dementia Obtain Continuous Home Care?

Author: Andrea Miller

Reviewed By: Catherine Braxton

An elderly person with dementia can obtain continuous home care if they qualify for hospice coverage through Medicare. Continuous home care includes nursing care for a minimum of eight hours and up to 24 hours. This care applies in crisis situations for hospice patients or when deemed necessary during the advanced stages of a progressive illness. Medicare covers hospice for your loved one if they have a terminal diagnosis with a life expectancy of less than six months, certified by the hospice physician.

How Does Medicare Define a Crisis for Continuous Home Care?

Medicare defines a crisis for continuous home care as the need for short-term acute management of pain or medical symptoms for someone in hospice. A crisis period often occurs when a person with dementia needs more care than available from the family caregiver, which creates the need for a higher level of skilled nursing care.

Medicare doesn’t cover continuous home care outside of a crisis period. This type of hospice care doesn’t provide respite care or a solution for safety concerns such as wandering without the presence of acute symptoms.

Can a Person With Dementia Receive 24-Hour Care Outside of Hospice?

A person with dementia can receive 24-hour care outside of hospice, but they must pay out of pocket for some of the cost. If they don’t qualify for hospice care, Medicare covers only part-time, intermittent home care. In this case, your family member will receive up to eight hours a day or 28 hours in a week. If your loved one needs 24-hour supervision to stay safe, consider moving them to a family member’s home or a nursing home