Celebrate Home Care and Hospice Workers

Young aide dressing the hair of a senior woman at home

Did you know that:

  • Home care health providers travel about 8 billion miles to deliver the best health care in the world?
  • Ninety percent of Americans want to age in place, and home care is the preferred method of health care delivery among the disabled, elderly, and chronically ill?
  • Home care agencies—including LifeSource Home Health—provide high-quality, compassionate care to more than 5 million Americans annually?

November is Home Care and Hospice Month and it’s time to celebrate the millions of aides, therapists, social workers, and nurses who work in home care and hospice. The second full week of November is dedicated as Home Care Aide Week, recognizing these compassionate, tireless workers who act as caregivers, companions, and friends to their clients.

What is home health care and hospice?

Home health care includes a large variety of health care services for an illness or injury that can be done in-home. Some examples of home health care include wound care, intravenous or nutrition therapy, injections, patient and family education, and monitoring serious illness or health status. Home care is designed to help individuals get better, regain independence and self-sufficiency, maintain current abilities, and slow any decline in health.

Hospice is end-of-life medical care provided at home, wherever home is, including private residences, community living, or a nursing home. This person-centered care is made up of an interdisciplinary team of professionals who tend to the physical, mental, and spiritual needs of the person as well as the caregivers and family. Services include pain relief and symptom control through medications, medical equipment like a hospital bed or oxygen, temporary relief for the caregivers, and grief counseling. The purpose of  hospice is not to cure or prolong life, but to focus on quality of life when a person is expected to live six months or less.

Why is home health care and hospice important?

As noted above, the vast majority of Americans want to age in place. Home health care can make that possible. About 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day. With the growing aging population, the need for quality health care will rise as well. Home care and hospice help reduce medical costs. Medicare pays nearly $2,000 per day for a typical hospital stay and $450 per day for a typical nursing home stay, while home care costs less than $100 a day (some of which Medicare may cover). More importantly, home care allows many seniors to remain independent at home, enrich their lives, and keep in touch with those they love. Hospice care helps individuals who prefer to die at home, surrounded by their loved ones.

William A. Domb, president of the National Association for Health Care, summed up why it’s important to honor these workers:  “Home care and hospice nurses, therapists, aides, and other providers who choose to use their lives to serve our country’s aged, disabled, and dying. This noble work deserves our recognition and praise and we celebrate November as Home Care & Hospice Month for that very reason.”

Sources: NAHC; Medicare; Hospice Foundation.

Categories: Home health