How Hospice and Home Care Work Together

| End-of-Life Resources

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Hospice and home care can be thought of as different services that are not used together.  This isn’t always the case, especially if someone’s last wishes are to pass away in their own home.  When this scenario occurs, many people will choose to have home care until the end.

The most common time home care and hospice are used together is in a person’s home, whether that be private residence or an assisted living facility.  These are the two most common places where these services team up.  When someone is on hospice in a nursing home, usually the nursing home staff can handle the support for hospice services.

When people are using home care services, caregivers are there to assist with medications, making meals, transportation and personal care.  As a person declines and is given a diagnosis of less than six months to live and decided on hospice, that is when the home care company will then start working with a hospice company supporting them with end-of-life services.

When a person receives hospice services they do not get around the clock care from the hospice company.  A nurse and aides will be out 2-4 times a week for an hour each visit.  This is not enough support for a person and either the family or a home care company will need to assist.   Generally, the person is already using home care services then goes chooses hospice services once their doctor has explained their situation.

This is where the home care company will work with a hospice provider and make sure that both care providers are on the same page and communicating to ensure consistent care.  This also provides relief to the family, as they are usually exhausted and stressed to a point where providing one-on-one care to their loved one is just too much to handle.

Home health aides will continue aiding with activities of daily but will also be available to provide pre-drawn medications whenever it is needed and focus on making sure the patient is as comfortable as possible.

Hospice can help home care as well. Reducing re-hospitalizations of Medicare and Medicaid patients.  This has become more important recently because of changes of re-imbursement from the government.  If a patient is readmitted a hospital within 30 days of being discharged for the same issue, the hospital will get reimbursed less money for services as a penalty from Medicare.  Hospice helps with the scrutiny of quality of care and makes sure patients discharged from the hospital are not going back and are safe and comfortable at home.

When you are talking with a loved one about what their wishes are for their finals months, find out if where they are looking to pass away, as most will say they wish to pass at home.  For many, this is not an option as they do not have the finances to pay for private care for extended periods of time, but for those that do, many find the help of hospice and home care working together extraordinarily helpful.


Ryan McEniff is the host of the podcast Caregiver’s Toolbox and the owner of Minute Women Home Care located in Lexington, Massachusetts.



| End-of-Life Resources

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