Understanding the Distinctions Between

Hospice Care and Home Health Care

When individuals require medical care at home, they may encounter two terms that often cause confusion: hospice care and home health care. Hospice of Eastern Idaho is a non-profit hospice agency and a leader in providing Hospice care services in Southeastern Idaho.

Although both types of care focus on enhancing the well-being of patients in a home setting, they differ significantly in terms of purpose, eligibility criteria, and services provided. This article aims to shed light on the distinctions between hospice care and home health care, enabling individuals and their families to make informed decisions regarding the appropriate form of care.

Hospice Care: Hospice care is primarily designed for individuals with terminal illnesses and life-limiting conditions. Its main objective is to provide comfort and support to patients in the final stages of their lives. Hospice care focuses on improving the quality of life rather than attempting to cure the underlying condition. A team of professionals, including doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, and volunteers, collaborate to manage pain and symptoms, address emotional and spiritual needs, and offer guidance to the patient and their family. Hospice care is typically initiated when curative treatments are no longer viable or desired by the patient.

Eligibility for hospice care is usually based on a prognosis of six months or less if the disease runs its normal course. This does not mean a definitive timeline; patients can receive hospice care beyond six months as long as the medical condition continues to be life-limiting. Hospice care is commonly provided in the patient’s home, but it can also be offered in dedicated hospice centers, nursing homes, or hospitals, depending on the patient’s needs and preferences. Learn more about Hospice Care

Home Health Care: Home health care, on the other hand, encompasses a broader range of medical services provided to individuals recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, as well as those with chronic conditions or disabilities. Unlike hospice care, home health care aims to restore or maintain a patient’s health and independence. It is often prescribed as a transitional phase after a hospital stay or as a long-term care option. Hospice of Eastern Idaho does not currently offer Home Health services.

Home health care services are typically delivered by a multidisciplinary team consisting of nurses, therapists (physical, occupational, or speech), and home health aides. These professionals collaborate to provide medical monitoring, wound care, medication management, rehabilitation therapies, assistance with activities of daily living, and education on managing the patient’s condition. The frequency and duration of home health care visits depend on the individual’s specific needs and the treatment plan outlined by the healthcare provider.

While hospice care focuses on providing comfort and support to individuals with terminal illnesses in their final stages of life, home health care offers a wider range of medical services aimed at restoring or maintaining a patient’s health. The key differences lie in the purpose, eligibility criteria, and scope of services provided. Understanding these distinctions can help individuals and their families make well-informed decisions about the most appropriate form of care based on their specific circumstances and needs.

If you’d like more information about Hospice of Eastern Idaho’s hospice care services in Southeastern Idaho click here. If you’d like to speak to a member of our compassionate staff concerning you or your loved one we are always here to help.  We can be reached 24 hours a day 7 days a week at 208-252-0342.