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Understanding Home Health, Palliative, and Hospice Care

People commonly misunderstand the differences between home health, palliative care, and hospice due to their similarities. While they all share the common goal of providing support and assistance to patients in the comfort of their home, each type of care serves a different purpose and are dedicated to different healthcare needs. Understanding the differences between these types of care is important for patients and caregivers to make informed decisions about their healthcare journey.

Home Health, Palliative, and Hospice: What’s The Difference?

Home Health Care

Home health care offers a comprehensive range of medical services in the comfort of a patient’s home. Home health is typically recommended for patients who are transitioning home from a hospital due to injury, illness, or surgery or patients who need help in managing their chronic illness. Home health care promotes care, healing, safety, and independence at home. Services may include medication management, rehabilitation therapy, and assistance with daily living activities. These healthcare services are delivered by a robust team of healthcare professionals which could include registered nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, medical social workers, and journey counselors based on the patient’s condition. Home health services are covered by Medicare and Medicaid, as well as many private insurances. Reach out to your insurance provider to find out if you qualify for home health care.

Palliative Care

Treating debilitating illness can cause advanced pain and uncomfortable symptoms. Palliative care specializes in providing relief from pain and stress of a serious illness. While hospice care is typically for patients with a terminal illness, palliative care can be provided at any stage of an illness, regardless of prognosis. The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for both patients and their families by supporting a patient’s physical health as well as psychosocial and spiritual needs. Palliative care programs include managing symptoms, offering advance care planning support, and coordination of care for the patient’s healthcare needs. Palliative care teams are comprised of palliative nurse practitioners, medical social workers, journey counselors, and other professionals who collaborate closely with the patient’s doctor to implement a personalized treatment plan. Palliative care is often covered for eligible Medicare beneficiaries. Contact your insurance provider for specific details regarding your coverage.

Hospice Care

Hospice care is a form of end-of-life care designed to provide comfort and support for individuals with a terminal illness or short life expectancy. While home health and palliative care are aimed at prolonging a patient’s life, hospice focuses on improving the quality of life for patients in their final stages. Hospice services include pain and medication management, as well as addressing emotional, social, and spiritual needs of the patient. Hospice is typically provided in a patient’s home for optimal comfort. A multidisciplinary care team includes hospice nurses, physicians, spiritual care counselors, specialized therapists, volunteers, and bereavement coordinators to ensure both the patient and their loved ones are receiving the support they deserve during this challenging time. Hospice also supports family members with bereavement services following the death of a loved one and is typically covered by Medicare and Medicaid, as well as many private insurances but should be discussed directly with your provider to explore eligibility.

About Residential Healthcare Group

While home health, palliative care, and hospice care offer similar services for patients in the comfort of their homes, they serve distinct purposes and are focused on different stages of illness. By understanding the differences between these types of care services, patients and their families can make informed, knowledgeable decisions to meet their unique needs. Residential Healthcare Group is here to walk alongside you throughout your healthcare journey and help with distinguishing the correct care option for you or your loved one.