Tags: Hospice

Many health care services are often provided in the familiar and supportive setting of home—where most patients prefer to be, given the choice. The home care option reduces unnecessary hospital stays, and perhaps most importantly, delivers personalized, one-on-one attention from a dedicated, multidisciplinary health care team straight to your doorstep. As the patient is the sole focus during every visit, home health care clinicians are able to become health educators and advocates—an important part of the support system to help clients through a challenging time.

Two of the most commonly known home health care specialties are home health and hospice—which are covered by Medicare and most private insurers. Here is a quick-reference comparison to help you understand the differences and similarities between hospice and home health.

Home health services are short-term medical services ordered by a doctor and provided at home to help adults and seniors recover or rehabilitate from an injury, illness, surgery, or hospitalization or to help them learn how to better manage a chronic condition such as diabetes or COPD.

Hospice care services provide clinical, social, emotional, and spiritual care and support for a patient and their immediate family members near the end of life. As part of hospice, the care team provides palliative care—designed to keep the patient as comfortable as possible with a variety of interventions to reduce and manage pain and other symptoms. They also provide respite care, which means patient care that allows family caregivers the opportunity to rest, rejuvenate, and leave the house to do other things, either on a planned or emergency basis. Hospice also includes bereavement (grieving) care for family members following the loss of a loved one. To qualify, a patient must decide (in collaboration with their doctor and family) to discontinue curative treatment for their terminal illness, and the doctor must certify a life expectancy of six months or less. When curative treatment ends, hospice care steps in.

Learn more about hospice care.

What is the Philosophy of Care?

Home Health

  • To promote health, well-being, and quality of life
  • To manage pain, symptoms and side effects
  • To support independent living in home of choice
  • To prevent unnecessary hospitalizations

Hospice

  • To provide compassionate care to promote well-being and quality of life
  • To manage pain, symptoms and side effects
  • To support independent living in home of choice
  • To prevent unnecessary hospitalizations
  • To counsel patient and family through end-of-life process
  • To relieve caregiver burden and stress

Who Benefits from Services?

Home Health

For recovery or rehabilitation following an:

  • injury
  • illness
  • surgery
  • hospitalization
  • help managing a chronic condition

Hospice

For optimizing comfort and quality of life when:

  • a doctor certifies life expectancy of six months or less
  • patient discontinues curative treatment for terminal illness

What Services are Provided?

Home Health

  • Nursing and/or therapy until defined goals are met
  • Personal care assistance
  • Medical social work
Hospice
  • Medical, social, emotional, and spiritual care for patients and families

  • Bereavement support for families

  • Medication management

  • Medical equipment supply services

Where are Services Provided?

Home Health

  • Wherever the patient calls home, in a private home or facility residence
Hospice
  • Wherever the patient calls home, in a private home or facility residence
  • In a hospital or inpatient facility for a short-term stay

How Long are Services Provided?

Home Health

  • Regular visits on an intermittent basis, depending on goals of care
  • Recertification if medically necessary

Hospice

  • Care schedule varies by need
  • Unlimited recertification with ≤6-month life expectancy
  • Bereavement support continues after loss of loved one

Home Health Care Graphic

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