Transitioning from Home Health to Hospice
We believe that people deserve to be comfortable as they navigate their care, no matter what that care looks like. When it comes to making decisions around end-of-life and hospice care specifically, there should be an easy transition from home health and other forms of care to support caregivers and their loved ones.
We offer hospice as part of our continuum of care to make that transition seamless. For some caregivers, the thought of transitioning from another home health service to hospice can be daunting. Here are some common questions we get about this transition.
What is home health?
Home health refers to a range of medical, therapeutic and care services provided at a patient’s home for those recovering from surgery, illness or managing chronic health issues. We offer many home health services, including:
- Skilled Nursing
- Rehabilitation Therapy
- Strong Foundations
- Advanced Illness Management
- IV Therapy
- Wound Care
- TeleHealth Home Monitor
- Behavioral Health
- Medical Social Work
- Home Health Aides
The care can be provided by professional caregivers, home health aides or even registered nurses, depending on the individual’s needs. The primary aim is to provide care that encourages independence and enhances quality of life while allowing individuals to stay in the comfort of their own homes.
What is hospice care?
We provide hospice care to patients in their homes with the focus being on comfort and quality of life rather than curing illness. It’s typically chosen for terminal patients who have approximately six months or less to live. The goal is to manage pain and other symptoms so that patients can spend their remaining time in a comfortable and meaningful way. The care team typically includes doctors, nurses, social workers, therapists, chaplains and aides who provide medical, psychological and spiritual support to the patient and their family.
What does the transition from home health to hospice look like?
Transitioning from home health care to hospice entails a process that begins with a comprehensive evaluation of a patient’s health condition. This is typically initiated by our team or a patient’s physician, who identifies the need for a more specialized, end-of-life care approach due to the progression of the patient’s illness.
A hospice representative meets with the patient and their family to discuss the specifics of care, answer questions and learn the patient’s needs and wishes. A plan of care is then established, and hospice services start, focusing on providing comfort, managing pain and improving the patient’s quality of life during their final days.
When is it time to consider hospice care?
A caregiver or patient should consider hospice for their loved one when that patient has a life-limiting illness and medical treatments are no longer effective or desired. Indicators may include frequent hospitalizations or emergency room visits, decline in functional status, uncontrolled pain or other symptoms and a desire from the patient to stop aggressive treatments. This is a decision that is often made alongside a patient’s physician.
We tell patients that it’s never too early to discuss long-term solutions with family or caregivers. Letting people in your life know what you would like is important if they have to make a decision for you. Have a courageous conversation with your caregiver and let them know hospice is there for them as well as you.
Hospice is not about giving up, but about ensuring quality of life for the time being, and that philosophy informs how we care for patients at VNA. To learn more about our hospice care services, visit https://www.vnakc.org/home-health-services/hospice-care/