Home Health and Hospice Care

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People often confuse hospice with home health care.  Both are covered by Medicare and many other insurances, and both allow you the opportunity to be at home instead of the hospital.  But there are some very important differences between the two depending on your needs and health condition.  Home health care is used for both short and long term conditions.  For example:

• For the treatment of an acute illness;

• For a chronic condition or in case of permanent disability;

• As a transition after hospitalization (surgery).

Hospice considers patients with the following terminal diagnoses:  cancer, dementia/Alzheimer’s disease, late stage CVA, end stage chronic heart failure and coronary artery disease, end stage renal, pulmonary or liver diseases, ALS, or other life-limiting illnesses.

Hospice covers medications related to the terminal illness and symptoms; where home health usually does not cover medications.  Hospice covers medical supplies and equipment such as beds, walkers, wheelchairs, etc.  Home health patients usually have to qualify for the equipment and supplies.

Finally, hospice acknowledges that as a patient becomes more ill, his or her needs may increase.  Care is delivered by a compassionate team of professionals that are specialty trained in end of life care.  This may include chaplains and social workers.  Hospice treats the whole person rather than just the disease; focusing on the quality rather than the length of life; concentrating on the patient and family together.  Traditional home health serves patients with a high level of need and attempts to reduce those needs as they move towards recovery.  Its primary motivation is the patient.

If you or a loved one is in need of home health care, please contact Central Louisiana Home Health Care.  Our offices are located in Alexandria, Marksville and Opelousas.  In addition, we have implemented a new service called the Acute Care Transition Program which assists patients with a possible life-limiting illness transition from home health to hospice care.  For more information, call Central Louisiana Home Care at (800) 960-3022.