If you or a loved one ends up in the hospital, you may be faced with a decision to choose between home health services or hospice.
What’s the difference?
Under hospice care, most patients receive services from a Medicare-certified organization, which provides each patient with an interdisciplinary team that consists of a physician, nurse, hospice aide, social worker, and chaplain (volunteer services and bereavement are also available). These individuals come to the patient’s home, wherever they call home: private residence, assisted living community, nursing home, group home, etc. Hospice care is comfort care for patients with a prognosis of six months or less (if their disease runs its natural course) as certified by a physician. A home health agency provides their services in the private homes of patients in need of skilled care related to their diagnosis, including, but not limited to, registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, speech/language pathologists, and physical/occupational therapists. The patient’s progress must be documented under home health care.
Hospice patients do not have to be homebound to receive services. That is, they can leave home, run errands, and even take a trip out of state if they feel well enough. Home health care patients must be certified by a doctor that they ARE homebound except for short durations. Another major difference in these two services is that hospice can provide up to 24 hours of nursing and hospice aide services for patients who need acute symptom management and want to remain at home. It also provides medications and covers the cost 100%. The Medicare home health care benefit does not cover 24-hour care and will not cover a patients medication costs.
A person cannot receive hospice services and home health at the same time, they must chose between the two. If you or a loved one is eligible to receive Medicare benefits and you’re unsure about the kind that may be needed, call us today for more information. A referral to hospice can be made by anyone-we have admission nurse specialists ready to meet with individuals to discuss their medical conditions/diagnosis and provide guidance in choosing the care best suited for that individual.
Click on the link below for more frequently asked questions regarding home health and hospice.