As the American population continues to age — and families are increasingly scattered across the country and unable to directly provide care for their loved ones — home health care and hospice care are becoming an increasingly integral part of our country’s health care system. To celebrate the important role that home healthcare providers play in America’s medical system, November has been designated as Home Care & Hospice Month.
Choosing Between Hospice Vs Aging in Place
More and more Americans are stating a strong preference that they want to age in place — this means staying in their homes for as long as possible, rather than living out their old age in assisted living facilities or nursing homes. In fact, recent research suggests that more than 90 percent of Americans prefer aging in place (www.nahc.org). Home health care providers and hospice employees help transform these desires into realities, particularly for patients who only a generation ago would have been institutionalized. Now, with outstanding home healthcare providers and organizations, people can arrange for an array of services that will help them stay in their home for longer.
In recent years, more than 5 million Americans have utilized home health care (www.nahc.org). It is important to remember that these home health care workers serve people with vastly different medical needs. For example, some patients may have mobility challenges given a recent fall or broken bone, whereas others may be undergoing treatment for cancer. The vast majority of Americans who can benefit from home health care tend to be older Americans — however, home health care crosses demographic boundaries. Many younger Americans with disabilities or other challenges benefit from regular home health care.
The importance of Hospice and Caregivers
It is also important to remember that the services provided by home health care providers vary dramatically given the different needs that the clients may have. For example, some clients may need significant assistance with bathing, toileting, and hygiene needs. On the other hand, some clients only need assistance with taking their medications and making sure that their basic health needs are addressed. And, for some people, the biggest benefit that they get from home health care or hospice care is companionship. Often older Americans feel isolated from their friends and neighbors — and this isolation can lead to depression, loneliness, and a wide range of other physical and emotional problems. Home health care workers and hospice employees can take away this sense of loneliness.
No matter what services they are providing, home health care workers and hospice employees have one thing in common. They are united by a common desire to provide their clients with best practice, compassionate care that allows these clients to maintain their best possible quality of life. Achieving this goal requires that the employees are not only compassionate individuals but that they also have a strong track record of outstanding professional experience and a commitment to excellence. Unlike in hospital or other clinical care settings, in-home health care or hospice, tremendous responsibility is vested in the one provider — therefore, it is essential that they do the best that they can with their home health care clients at all points in time.
Homecare and hospice providers have a tremendous amount of responsibility — and, as a result, they have a lot of job-related stress. It is also frequently a thankless job — people are not constantly patting these employees on the back and telling them thanks for a job well done … even though they should be! This is why it is so important to pause and think about the home health care and hospice providers who make a tremendously positive impact on the lives of our loved ones. And, don’t forget to thank these amazing individuals and congratulate them on a job well done in the month of November.