There can be a misconception that hospice care will replace home care when an individual enters into the end of life phase. The reality is that both hospice and home care are complementary, serving the individual and the family holistically.
“Hospice is covered by Medicare in most cases with a physician’s order, but it does not provide 24/7 care, which can pose a burden on family members in providing care for their loved one a majority of the time,” says Home Instead Senior Care Branch Manager, Catherine Hougard. “The equipment and supplies provided by hospice, and access to counseling services are a huge benefit, but personal care is typically only 2-3 times/week for bathing assistance. For those who are bed-bound or incontinent, personal cares are a 24/7 process.”
“On the other hand, for those thinking that bypassing hospice and just choosing 24/7 in-home care is a viable option, that’s usually not the case either,” commented Catherine. “In end of life situations, in home caregivers are able to ensure greater client comfort through the use of hospice provided equipment and supplies for personal cares. And, home care providers do not perform tasks that hospice nurses can such as wound care or catheter changes, or deliver medications including morphine to a patient no longer able to self-deliver.”
“In-home care fills the holes in hospice and vice versa. Utilizing home care allows family members the opportunity to focus on being present to their loved one, instead of grocery shopping, walking the dog, or making meals,” says Catherine. “Home Instead CAREGivers assist with all personal cares, keep the household running, and provide companionship to the individual – essentially providing the family some much needed respite care during a difficult time.”
“One final element to keep in mind is that after the individual on hospice passes, there may be a surviving spouse who’s wellbeing is compromised,” notes Catherine. “Our Home Instead CAREGivers may continue in a supportive role providing for medication reminders, nutritional needs, physical activity, household chores, and companionship, as the grieving process unfolds.”
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