The Difference Between Home Health and Hospice Care

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Home Health has been around since the mid-1800s. However, hospice care is a relatively new specialty, having been founded in the mid-1970s. Despite the large age gap amidst the two specialties, the terms “home health” and “hospice care” are often used interchangeably. But, there are some key differences.

What is home health?

Home health could be prescribed for various conditions, including post-surgical procedures, injury, or a recent chronic illness diagnosis. Home health aids in recovery or rehabilitation and can even be used as an educative tool for those who need extra guidance with disease management. Home health is a short-term service used to promote quality of life, support independent living, and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations.  

What services are provided through home health? 

Home health provides nursing or therapy assistance to help meet the care goals set by the patient/ordering physician, personal assistance, and medical social work. These services can be provided wherever the patient calls home but are not provided in an in-patient facility.

How long is home health provided? 

Home health is tailored to an individual’s needs, although usually short-term. Some individuals opt for regular visits over more spread-out periods of time, but ultimately, the patient and patient’s physician will discuss and decide upon a proper care plan. 

What is hospice care? 

Hospice care is provided to those suffering from a life-limiting illness. Hospice care seeks to provide a holistic approach to the end-of-life process, through clinical, social, emotional, and spiritual care, not only for the patient but also for the patient’s family members. Hospice care also has the goal of promoting quality of life through pain and symptom management, as well as helping the patient and his family through the end-of-life process. 

What services are provided through hospice care? 

Hospice care provides medical supplies, medical, social, emotional, and spiritual care for the patient and his family, medicine management, and bereavement support for immediate family members. Hospice care can be provided wherever the patient calls home, as well as in-patient facilities.  

How long is care provided? 

An individual may be referred to hospice if they have a life expectancy of 6 months or less. Bereavement support continues after the patient passes.

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