November is Home and Hospice Care Month – set aside to honor those who attend to the in-home health, hospice and community-based care needs of citizens in the comfort and privacy of their homes.
Home care describes a wide variety of health and health related services provided in a home setting to sustain, maintain or restore an individual’s health and well-being. Hospice, which focuses on comfort care and symptom management, is a special way of caring for individuals who are in the final stage of their lives due to a terminal illness.
Services provided by in-home health and hospice agencies include skilled nursing, medical social work, intravenous (IV) therapy, physical therapy, speech language pathology, occupational therapy, home medical equipment, respite care, personal care services, bereavement counseling, pain management and quality, end-of-life care. These services are provided by a variety of organizations, including Medicare certified home health and hospice providers, private duty nursing agencies, in-home aide agencies, councils-on-aging, departments of social services, home medical equipment companies, IV therapy agencies and adult day service providers. Some agencies also provide companion and sitter services, in-home management, home modifications and volunteer services.
Care provided in the comfort and security of an individual’s home through a licensed agency gives individuals, their family, and friends, a sense of control and peace of mind. While it helps keep families together and promotes independence and patient dignity, in-home care also provides a wide range of health care and social services to the patient and teaches families to help care for their family member.
“Home- and community-based care is a cost-saving program for the state and federal government,” says Ellen Bolch, Board Chair of the South Carolina Home Care & Hospice Association and President and CEO of THA Group. “On average, patients who receive care at home, regardless of the level of care, receive that care at a significant savings to taxpayers, representing a win-win for the patient and the community.”
In-home health, hospice, and community-based services compassionately care for citizens of all ages, from prenatal care to geriatric care, and also provide love, comfort and support at the end of life. The services provide the greatest degree of independence, freedom and dignity possible for patients, allowing them to remain at home, close to their family and friends, in familiar surroundings.
“We believe that working in this field is a great gift,” says Val Halamandaris, President of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice. “Although it is difficult, the work in home care and hospice is highly gratifying. It is a great honor to represent those who love and care for millions of aged, infirm, disabled and dying Americans every year.”