What's the Difference? Home Care, Home Health, Hospice

You need care in your home, now what? How do you know if you need home care, home health or hospice? What is the difference between home care, home health, and hospice?

Home care is a general term used to describe medical or non-medical care in the home. Private duty home care is non-medical service provided in the home and paid for privately, by long-term care insurance, state funding, or Medicaid. These services may consist of housekeeping, laundry, transportation, meal preparation, companionship, and personal cares such as bathing, dressing, or personal hygiene assistance. Those in need of care may tailor the services to meet their needs. The home care agency takes the burden of hiring, scheduling, human resource and payroll responsibilities, insuring services, and workman’s compensation off the shoulders of those in need of care.

Home health primarily provides medical in-home services such as nursing services, physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. Because home health is primarily funded by Medicare, the services provided are directed by diagnosis and physician orders. The goal of home health is to restore the individual’s health through treatment of specific diagnosis such as recovery after a surgery or aliments such as a stroke, heart attack, or pneumonia. Because of this, services are typically short-lived. Patients must meet certain criteria for home health services to be covered by Medicare such as being home-bound (taxing effort to leave the home), physician deems the services medically necessary and recently had an acute illness, injury, or hospital stay.

Hospice is also a Medicare benefit that pays for care in-home or residential settings once the patient can no longer benefit from curative treatment and life expectancy is limited. This service provides compassionate care, medications, equipment, and a team of professionals to assist the patient with whatever they may need to ensure end of life is as comfortable as possible. Bereavement services are also offered to the family. The hospice team is made up of a specialized team of physicians, nurses, aides, chaplains, social workers, bereavement counselors, and volunteers working together to ensure the patient's physical, mental, and spiritual needs are met.

If you are wondering what services might be right for you or your loved one give us a call! We are here to help.