Difference between Home Health and Hospice Care

Even though home health care and hospice care seem similar, there are a few differences. Hospice care is for patients with a prognosis of less than six months that is certified by a physician. Home health services are for patients who require intermittent skilled nursing care, speech language pathology services, or physical therapy as prescribed by a doctor. The prognosis must be documented. Despite the differences, home health and hospice care training is similar.

Hospice Care

Patients can receive hospice care from a Medicare certified hospice organization, which will give patients a whole team that includes a nurse, physician, social worker, volunteer, chaplain, and bereavement specialists. This team comes to the home, whether that’s at a nursing home, assisted living community, or private residence. The patient will receive unlimited visits for six months, or as long as the patient has a limited life expectancy determined by a physician. Hospice care is not just for homebound patients but care can be provided up to 24 hours a day. The focus with hospice care is caring and not curing. Many people believe that hospice is only for the final moments of life, but symptom and pain management can be more effective when it is given earlier. It’s meant to provide the best quality of life for patients who are often in pain. It’s not common, but sometimes patients do improve and can be discharged from hospice.

Home Health

Home health can be registered nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, nursing assistants, or speech and language pathologists that go to the private home of patients who are in need of this skilled care that relates to their diagnosis. The length of care will be determined by the goals. Health services can include wound care, injections, dietary assistance, pain management, and supervising of prescriptions. This also sets the frequency amount and time period that is reasonable for the condition to be improved or maintained through therapy. The main goal with this type of care is to treat an injury or illness and to help a patient get better. The goal is to help the patient become as self sufficient as possible and regain independence. It can be for the short term if the patient feels like they no longer need help, or it can extend to the long term. Long-term care is especially important for chronic conditions. Home health care is only for a residential home and won’t be for another facility, such as a nursing home.

Patients can receive both hospice care and home health care if they have met the criteria for both. Both are designed to provide care to individuals at different stages of life. Home health and hospice care training helps provide these professionals with the skills they need to provide great patient care.

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Reed Hamilton

Mason Reed Hamilton: Mason, a political analyst, provides insights on U.S. politics, election coverage, and policy analysis.