Understanding Your Options

What is Home Care?

The range of home health care services a patient can receive at home is limitless. Depending on the individual patient's situation, care can range from nursing care to specialized medical services. Home Care may be an option for patients who are returning home after a surgery or other hospital stay, or who are returning home after being in a rehabilitation facility. Home Care may also be an option for those patients who are disabled or chronically ill and need monitoring, treatment, or help with daily activities. RWJBarnabas Health offers home care to patients with a wide range of conditions. In addition, we offer specialized services for those returning home after cardiac surgery or in-patient care, joint replacement surgery, and stroke.

A wide range of services are provided by home care professionals, including medical services, nursing care, social services, rehabilitative treatment, or help with everyday activities. The most common form of home health care is some type of nursing care depending on the person's needs. In consultation with the doctor, a registered nurse will set up a plan of care. Nursing care may include wound dressing, ostomy care, intravenous therapy, administering medication, monitoring the general health of the patient, pain control, and other health support. Some patients may need help relearning how to perform daily duties or improve their speech after an illness or injury. A physical therapist can put together a plan of care to help a patient regain or strengthen use of muscles and joints. An occupational therapist can help a patient with physical, developmental, social, or emotional disabilities relearn how to perform such daily functions as eating, bathing, dressing, and more. A speech therapist can help a patient with impaired speech regain the ability to communicate clearly.

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What is Hospice?

Hospice is a special concept of care designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families when a life-limiting illness no longer responds to cure-oriented treatment. The term "hospice" once described a way station for pilgrims journeying to the Holy Land. Today, hospice care is based on the philosophy of providing emotional, spiritual, physical support, and comfort to people in the final phases of life, usually in the last six months. Hospice care is delivered in the patient's primary residence, either the home or nursing home, and provides in-patient care on a short-term basis to address symptom management.

The goal of hospice is to provide comfort and care, not "cure" the illness or disease, like home health care. Pain and symptom control are the objectives of all hospice services. The goal of hospice care is to enable the person who is terminally ill to enjoy life to the fullest. Types of hospice care services provided depend on the patient's needs and preferences. Research has shown that hospice care at home helps the entire family. Family members are encouraged to take an active role in providing supportive care to the patient.

Find out more information about hospice and home care.

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