Home health and hospice have several things in common. For starters, home health and hospice both bring skilled health care professionals to provide health care directly into a patient’s home. A patient’s ‘home’ can be wherever the patient considers home—a residential dwelling, an assisted living, or even sometimes skilled nursing facilities. Both services can often be provided at absolutely no cost to the consumer as Medicare and insurance plans front the cost. That being said, there are very significant differences between home health and hospice.

The biggest difference.

Perhaps the biggest difference between home health and hospice is the underlying philosophy behind the programs. For example, the underlying philosophy of home health is that of curative services. Home health provides services that are designed to rehabilitate the patient to their highest ability to care for themselves. Patients are taught how to understand their current medical condition and be as independent as they can be in their own home. Physical therapists implement strengthening exercises or how to transfer to help prevent further injury from falls. Occupational therapists educate how to adapt in groom and bathing for independence. These services are intermittent, are usually daily, and have goals to be reached for discharge. The home health services are delivered by a team who is constantly collaborating with each other and the patient’s physician for the best quality outcomes.

The hospice philosophy.

On the other side, the hospice philosophy is to improve the quality of life of a patient who is terminally ill. The care provided is meant to manage the terminal illness symptoms and mitigate the pain the illness may be causing the patient. While this might sound scary at first, hospice is truly a gift and everyone should have the opportunity to experience it fully. Often, people are in denial about the seriousness of the condition and get on hospice too late to truly benefit from the experience. Once a patient learns they are terminally ill, ideally they will be admitted as soon as possible to a hospice agency so the patient can maximize the rest of the time they have left. All the care is overseen by a physician and is orchestrated by an interdisciplinary team which includes the physician, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and other professionals as the care dictates. All the medications related to the terminal condition are provided by the hospice along with medical equipment, briefs, oxygen, and other items required to care for the individual. Some hospices, like Aspire Home Health and Hospice, provide alternative therapies to help manage pain and increase a patient’s quality of life like music or massage therapy.

We are here to help.

I can only imagine how overwhelmed you must be having read all that information! And while I hope the information helps you plan care for your family, you should also know that you are not in this alone! My representatives are standing by 24/7 to answer any questions you may have. Please consider my team your senior care advocates who are committed to helping you make the best decision—even if that means you choose to not go with any of our services. Aspire Home Health and Hospice is truly on your side.

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