What is the Difference Between Home Health Care and Hospice?

Whether you are a patient, a family member, or a caregiver, it is important to know how home health and hospice are the same and how they are different. It’s important to choose the right care at the right time. Let’s review these differences in this blog.

What is Home Health Care?

Home health care is when skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech-language pathology services, or ongoing occupational services are brought to a patient’s home when their doctor says they need them. The progress of the patient is documented and their care plan is adjusted to their needs.

What to Expect

Most hospice patients don’t have to pay anything out of pocket because they know they are dying, but home health care patients may have to pay for medications, supplies, and equipment.

Unfortunately, home health care doesn’t pay for hospital stays if symptoms get worse and can’t be managed at home. Family caregivers of home health patients get training and education, but they don’t get the extra layers of emotional and social support that hospice caregivers may receive.

What is Hospice?

Hospice care is comfort care for people who have been told by a doctor that they have less than six months to live if their illness runs its natural course.

What to Expect

Routine hospice care is given wherever the patient lives, such as a private home, nursing home, assisted living community, or residential care facility for the elderly. Care is given on a daily basis by a family member, friend, or private duty caregiver, who is helped by a team of hospice experts, including a nurse, an aide, a doctor, a chaplain, a social worker, a volunteer, and a bereavement counselor.

If needed, other specialists step in to help. All of the members of the team are experts in caring for people at the end of their lives.

In addition to routine hospice care in the home, three other levels of care include continuous care, inpatient care, and respite care.

What is the Difference Between Hospice and Home Health Care?

Hospice care and home health care have some things in common, but they are different ways to help people with different needs and goals.

Hospice cares for a patient’s comfort when medical treatments to cure the illness are no longer effective or not wanted. Home health care is meant to help people get better from injuries or illnesses or improve their personal function abilities.

How are Home Health Care and Hospice Similar?

Hospice and home health care are similar in some ways. By looking at what they have in common, you can learn more about their important differences. Both of these care options:

  • Can be given no matter where the patient lives
  • Must be given if a doctor says so and the patient is eligible
  • Are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration, and several private insurance companies
  • Help with things like bathing, dressing, grooming, etc. that people do every day
  • Costs less than care in a hospital or facility
  • Can continue as long as the doctor says so and the requirements are met

When is it Time to Switch to Hospice from Home Health Care?

As a person’s illness gets worse, they may be able to get hospice care. If you or a loved one is getting home health care and shows any of the following signs, talk to your doctor about being eligible for hospice. This can help relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life.

  • More than 10% of your normal body weight is lost unintentionally
  • Relying on others for help with three or more daily tasks, like bathing, dressing, controlling urine or bowels, getting from one place to another, walking, and feeding
  • A decline in thinking, remembering, and alertness
  • Having trouble breathing or feeling short of breath at rest or with little effort
  • With Alzheimer’s or dementia patients, their ability to do daily tasks keeps getting worse

Home Health Care vs. Hospice in Central Georgia

Hospice care at home is focused on the patient, but we don’t stop there. Our goal is to take care of the patient and give comfort and help to the patient’s family. We are ready to meet all of your needs, whether you or a loved one want home health care or hospice.

Hospice Care Options has many locations in central Georgia, so they can suggest a place that will be best for the patient and their family.

No matter where they are, Hospice Care Options patients and their families get:

  • Care that is consistent from a team of doctors and nurses that remain the same
  • Professionals and volunteers with lots of medical training
  • Counseling from experts for the patient and his or her family
  • 24/7 response and service
  • Help with paperwork and insurance, if needed
  • Peace of mind that your loved one is in good hands