November is National Home Care and Hospice Month – a time set aside to recognize and honor home health and hospice caregivers around nation.
Every day, millions of nurses, home care aides, therapists, social workers, and others dedicate themselves to improving quality of life for the patients and families they serve. We encourage everyone to recognize the contributions of home care workers – not just during November, but throughout the year.
When we help increase awareness about what we do, why we do it, and who we do it for, we help continue the growth of home healthcare and hospice services – not only for LHC Group, but for our industry as a whole. Check out our “National Home Care and Hospice Month” webpage to learn more.
As we pause to celebrate the great things our nation’s clinicians and caregivers do for patients, families, and communities everywhere, we believe it’s also a great time to revisit a few of the more common myths and facts about home care and hospice.
Home Care and Hospice – Myth vs. Fact
MYTH: Home health is more expensive than a hospital or facility.
FACT: Home health is typically one of the more affordable services patients may receive. Home health is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance companies, if you meet the eligibility requirements. Also, it is generally substantially less expensive than traditional facility-based treatment.
MYTH: You have to bed-bound to qualify for in-home care.
FACT: While some patients may be bed-bound, it is not a requirement to qualify for services. Qualification for home health services is dependent on whether or not a patient is considered homebound.
MYTH: You have to need nursing care to receive home health.
FACT: Although home health does treat patients with a nursing need, it’s not a requirement for home healthcare. We also treat patients with therapy needs.
MYTH: Care in the home is lower quality than what I or my loved one would receive in a hospital or facility.
FACT: Home healthcare quality is very tightly monitored by a number of organizations, most notably by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In fact, CMS actively surveys and records quality to ensure that healthcare delivered across all settings (hospital, facility, office, or home) is transparently rated by both government regulators, as well as end consumers. Our home health agencies employ licensed, skilled professionals who go through a robust orientation. Our clinicians can most often provide the same care that a patient would receive in a hospital, but in a more comfortable setting.
MYTH: Home healthcare is a replacement for care by friends and family.
FACT: Home healthcare aims to work in addition to the care provided by your friends and family. Our goal is to help the patient/caregivers understand the disease process, treatment regimen, and symptoms to report.
MYTH: Choosing hospice means giving up all medical treatment.
FACT: Hospice places the patient and family at the center of the care-planning process and provides high-quality pain management and symptom control. The focus of hospice care is to provide comfort when dealing with a terminal diagnosis.
MYTH: Hospice is a place.
FACT: Hospice is a way of caring for individuals in advanced stages of illness – not a place. The majority of hospice patients are cared for in their own homes or the home of a loved one. Hospice care can be provided wherever an individual lives. We provide care for patients in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospitals.
MYTH: Hospice care is only appropriate in the last few days of life.
FACT: Receiving hospice care does not mean giving up hope or that death is imminent. The earlier an individual receives hospice care, the more opportunity there is to stabilize your medical condition and address other needs. Some patients actually improve and may be discharged from hospice care.
MYTH: Hospice is for people who have no hope.
FACT: Facing a serious illness is never easy. Even when life is measured in months instead of years, however, there is still a lot of living to do. Hospice can help individuals spend their final months doing the things that are most important to them. Hospice can provide the physical, emotional, and spiritual support patients and families need to welcome each new day.
MYTH: The patient/family have no say in who their home care provider is.
FACT: Although a physician may provide a referral for a particular agency, the patient ALWAYS has a choice in who provides their care.