Home health care and hospice are similar in many ways and can work together in providing care for mutual patients, and guiding families. Paradise Home Health Care has worked with many families that have hospice care or will get referred to hospice later, as their care needs change. We will discuss some ways that home care and hospice’s palliative care model work together.

How Hospice Differs From Home Health Care

Hospice specifically focuses on end-of-life care and needs.

With technological advances in the medical world, the average life span has increased. Research in the medical and pharmacology industry has produced tests and medications that often lead to the detection and treatment of what was once a terminal illness. It was noted sixty years ago, that such advances have blurred the lines between life and death. Since that time, healthcare professionals have worked on developing a palliative care model known as hospice care.  The hospice model is to keep the patient comfortable and brings with them a care team of healthcare professionals. With a terminal diagnosis where a physician feels there may be 6 months of life left, a referral is made to whichever Hospice the family chooses.

It is important to have a timely referral to hospice. The timing of a hospice referral is crucial to be able to provide the patient with enough time to benefit from hospice services. The main problem with hospice referrals coming in late is obtaining the Medicare benefit requirement for certification of the 6-month prognosis. It is very difficult for doctors to give a prognosis. Hospice’s model of caring for their patients is multi-faceted. To benefit from all health care modalities involved, the sooner the better. Of course, their patient could live longer than 6 months. In that case, they will be recertified. After the referral is given and the hospice is chosen, a hospice nurse will then come out, do an evaluation, and make a care plan.

When choosing a hospice to care for the end of your loved one’s life, read reviews, and ask as many questions as you can. Hospice care includes a team of professionals such as Social Workers, nurses, doctors, chaplains, and volunteers.

Hospice Home Care Model

Paradise Home Health provides caregivers at the times requested by the client or family. When hospice services are initiated after we have been providing care, we continue to work on providing the everyday needs of our clients. It is important to know that when the client receiving hospice is at home, there are some tasks that hospice won’t do. Around-the-clock care can’t be provided by hospice for those living in their own home. Our caregivers will continue to care for our client while under hospice care. They can update the hospice nurse on how their patient has been feeling, and if there has been a refusal of food or water.

Hospice’s home care model relies on the presence of a live-in or frequently present caregiver.  Nurse aides and volunteers from hospice may prepare a light meal, and pick up the kitchen. Regular or heavy housekeeping or meal prep are not services provided by hospice. Other tasks NOT considered hospice services are child or animal care, yard work, home repair, and grocery shopping, Helping daily with ADLs (activities of daily living) which are bathing, dressing, assistance to the bathroom, or incontinent care aren’t provided daily. A hospice home health aide will visit a couple of times a week to bathe and assist their patient with their basic needs. Each hospice patient is assigned a Social Worker who can help families connect to such services. http://www.csa.us

Families often express that their loved one wants to stay in their home at the end-of-life stage. It is a lot more comfortable to be surrounded by familiar sights, sounds, and people. Not many people want to spend the last days of their life in a hospital. When the choice is between a hospital and their home, the latter is always the choice.

Working as a Team

Home health and Hospice need to work together. I hope that starts happening more often. When we care for a client, we take that very seriously. They aren’t a number or a dollar sign. They are somebody’s mom, dad, spouse, brother, sister, and therefore part of the Paradise family. We strive for exceptional communication, consistency in care, and are available 24/7.  When our aide sees hospice come in, they get nervous. If we aren’t informed, they could lose an aide that they liked. Solely for the reason that the aide thought hospice was taking over. When we know it is happening, we can communicate with the aide on the case. Together, with hospice, make their client comfortable and their family supported. It only makes sense to work together, as a team.  I hope there is more working together in the future, as we have similar goals.