It is common for residents in assisted living or memory care homes to utilize home health or hospice services. However, if someone has never used these services before, they may not understand what they are, what services are included, and how someone can utilize them. Here we will help explain what home health and hospice care is and why these benefits are important to seniors.
What Is Home Health Care?
People often need medical assistance to recover when they have undergone surgery or face illness or other impairments. Their doctor will assess them and determine if they need home health care. Home health care services are an effective and convenient way for individuals to receive necessary medical care to rehabilitate. Home health care services are provided to people in their homes or assisted living and memory care facilities. Medical professionals such as nurses, doctors, caregivers, and social workers will make visits and provide needed medical care. Some of the different types of services provided by home health professionals include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and medical social services.¹
What Is Hospice Care?
People who live with a serious illness that continues to progress may decide that they no longer want to take part in specific medical treatments. This is often an appropriate time to consider hospice. Hospice is centered around providing care and comfort for those who are nearing the end of life. Hospice provides services for both the individual and their family. For example, when a person qualifies and employs hospice care, an entire team consisting of doctors, spiritual advisors, social workers, and nurses become available. The hospice team regularly visits to care for the needs of the individual and is accessible 24/7 if needed. Their family can receive guidance and support from spiritual advisors and social workers. At any time if a person decides that they want to re-engage in medical treatments, then they can disengage with hospice services and re-enroll when needed. Hospice services can be received at home, in an assisted living, memory care, nursing home, or hospital.³
How Do You Pay For Home Health & Hospice?
Home health and hospice care can be covered through Medicare and private health insurance. There are rules and requirements that must be met in order for Medicare to cover home health and hospice care services. In order for Medicare to cover home health or hospice, the agency must be medicare-certified and be able to provide the skilled nursing services that the individual needs. The individual must receive a doctor’s order for home health or hospice.
For home health, the orders should show that the individual needs to receive treatment within their home. Further, home health orders need to show that the individual’s condition will likely improve within a specific time frame.²
Private health insurance will typically cover a portion of home health or hospice care services. The amount of coverage will vary depending on the type of insurance plan. Private health insurance will only cover skilled home-care services and does not cover nonmedical home care.
How Do You Find The Right Provider?
When choosing a home health or hospice provider, it is important to know that the individual gets to choose which agency they want to partner with. Patient choice is vital in the decision-making process and the person needs to feel comfortable with the agency that they are receiving care from. The best way to find a qualified provider is to ensure that they are medicare-certified. Next, they can conduct an interview with several agencies and determine which one will provide the best care for the given situation. Consider the agency’s star rating and look at their survey history. Star ratings range from one to five with five representing excellent performance and one representing poor performance. Finally, look at online reviews and ask healthcare providers and other trusted advisors in the long-term care industry for recommendations.
- Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Medicare and Home Health Care. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/HomeHealthQualityInits/Downloads/HHQIHHBenefits.pdf
- Medicare.gov. (n.d.). Home Health Services. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/home-health-services
- National Institute on Aging. (2021). What are palliative care and hospice care? Retrieved from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-are-palliative-care-and-hospice-care#hospice
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