How Is Home Health Care Different From Hospice Care

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Home health care vs hospice care

 
We think of home health care and or hospice care, whenever we have an ailing senior parent at home. Both of these services can be provided at home; however, they are distinct in their own ways. Advancing age brings along several ailments and challenges for our elderly loved ones. Helping them navigate through the journey with ease, dignity and comfort become our prime responsibility as caregivers.

Understanding the differences between home health care and hospice care

Home health care

Home health care services are for elderly patients who are suffering from an illness or injuries. It provides rehabilitative services to the elderly patients suffering from chronic illnesses. Restorative treatment is the basic approach. And provide various services through skilled care. This includes a variety of services. The elderly patients who receive home health care services are usually homebound.

Patients receive the following various types of skilled home care services:

  • Wound care, following injuries and accidents
  • Speech therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Imparting education to the patient as well as their caregivers
  • Nutrition therapy
  • Dietary assistance
  • Injections
  • Monitoring of the vital signs. Such as blood pressure, respiration rate, heart rate and body temperature
  • Pain management
  • Providing education and practical tips about self-care
  • Monitoring prescription medications
  • Providing tips on how to move around safely at home
  • Providing tips about communication and self-coordination strategies
Elderly patients that need the above mentioned skilled services can receive home health care services. These services help you get better to maintain your own independence and become self-sufficient.

Hospice care

Terminal illness is never easy. Hospice care gives supportive care to your loved ones final phase of life. Furthermore, it focuses on comfort care. The goal is to keep your loved one free from pain, so they can live each day as full as possible.
 
Hospice care is for those elderly patients who wish to improve the quality of their life. And when curing the illness no longer remains the goal. This is ideal for those patients who are fighting a life-limiting illness. Where curing the disease is almost a non–achievable task. For providing hospice care, a team consisting of a:
  • Personal physician
  • Nurses
  • Hospice medical director
  • Personal care aide
  • Management personnel
  • Religious personnel

What type of support does Hospice care provide

Hospice care aims to provide:
  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Psychological support
This is for patients suffering from terminal illness. There are more than 1.5 million cases, that require hospice care each year states the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of New York State. In majority of the cases, hospice care happens in the patient’s home itself. However, in some cases it is also provided in:
  • Nursing homes
  • Hospitals
  • And various other long-term care facilities centers

Financial Responsibilities

 
The financial expenses incurred in hospice care are fully covered by most of the insurance plans as well as HMOs. The trend is that many patients consider opting for hospice care, only during their last few days. But, ideally one should make use of hospice care in their last few months. To reduce the suffering associated with the agony of symptoms and other disabilities.
 
The hospice care team provides coaching to the caregivers about the type of care required for the patient. Furthermore, the team also provides respite care. When the caregiver needs a break in between care. The duration of the respite care would range from a few hours to several weeks.

Duration of services – Home health care Vs hospice care

Home health care services are for as long as the patient does not become independent enough to carry on with his/her activities. The duration is basically decided, based on the goals of care.
 
As far as hospice care, the services are for a period of 6 months, which includes unlimited visits to the care team. The duration can be extended, depending on the condition of the patient. A member of the hospice care team regularly visits the patient. And a 24×7 support is available to them and their family members as well as the caregivers. Any form of emergency is attended to provide medical, spiritual or emotional support.

Conclusion

Home Health and Hospice both offer comprehensive care in the convenience of home, but they differ in the objective of the care. Home health care strictly helps with rehabilitation and medication management in order to improve the patient’s medical condition. Hospice focuses on quality of life for the terminally ill patient and the patient’s family.  You can start by talking to your local case manager at the hospital to find out about both services. Hopefully, the above information is a good starting point and if you need more information. Please feel free to contact me for further answers. Also, check out this post on how to pay for caregiving.
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