Home Health Care Vs. Hospice: What’s the Difference?

Home Health Care and Hospice are benefits provided by Medicare and other insurance carriers.

Although many people use the terms interchangeably, it’s important to know their differences so you can determine the best care option for your loved one.
While both benefits are for the aid and caring for individuals needing help, home care and hospice offer different types of care. Depending on your loved one’s situation, one option may be more beneficial. Neither one is considered better than the next when it comes to medical care as they each focus on providing the best type of care tailored to the patient and his/her needs.
We will go over some of the major differences to help you determine which one would best fit your loved one’s needs.


Home care is a wide range of health care services that can be given in one’s home for an illness or injury and can be very effective for improving someone’s health. Home health services are prescribed by a doctor to help with rehab after an illness, injury, hospital stay, or surgery. It can also be prescribed to help manage a chronic medical condition in hopes of preventing an unwarranted hospitalization.

Home care is provided by experienced practitioners visiting the home and working together to help the patient meet his/her recovery goals. Overall, home health seeks to help patients improve their health, regain their independence, and become self-reliant.


While home health care strives to help the patient recover, it may also be used to help one maintain his current condition and slow decline. If your loved one has experienced any of the following, home health may be of good benefit to them:

  • Diagnosed with an illness
  • Change in health condition
  • Changes to medication
  • Recently hospitalized
  • Fear of falling or feel at risk for a fall
  • Concerns about safety and independence at home
  • Require assistance to leave home
  • Need help with medical needs
  • Needs assistance with medications
  • Concerns for safety/mobility

If your doctor prescribes home care, he will provide you with a list of home health agencies in your area. He must also disclose if his practice has any financial interest in the agencies listed. The agency will then schedule an appointment with you and visit with you to discuss the needs of the patient’s health. The agency will also act as a liaison between the patient and the doctor keeping the doctor updated about the health progress of the patient.


Staff from home health agencies can help in a variety of ways. They can monitor the patient’s food and liquid intake, take their vitals, assist with taking medications, determine pain levels, educate patients/caregivers on how to take better care of themselves, etc. They can also assist with more basic tasks like bathing/dressing and managing daily activities.

While many of these services can be short-term, home care can cover long-term care depending on the patient’s needs. Long-term services such as physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and infusion therapy may be utilized. In a nutshell, home health staff members ensure a person is able to live safely in their home.


Hospice is not a place. It’s a concept about the quality of life as it nears its end for the patient, and for their families and friends. When medicine cannot provide a cure, hospice can offer comfort, care, and assistance that will help maintain a better quality of life for the patient. This type of attention (called palliative care) involves the treatment of physical and emotional pain and symptoms. It focuses on enhancing a patient’s comfort and improving quality of life.


Hospice care is for people with a life expectancy of 6 months or less (if the illness runs its normal course). If the patient lives longer than 6 months, he can still receive hospice as long as the hospice medical director (or other hospice doctor) reconfirms that the patient is terminally ill. When a patient seeks a comfort and a good quality of life because there is no cure for a particular illness, hospice is often the best choice.
Hospice is based on the belief that through sensitive, appropriate care, and the support of a caring community, terminally ill patients and their families can begin to prepare to face the inevitable challenges ahead.


The patient and his family will meet with a team of people to set up a plan to meet the patient’s needs. The people on this team can include doctors, nurses, counselors, social workers, pharmacists, therapists, aides, and volunteers.
Hospice allows the patient to continue living at home if that’s determined to be what is best; however, an inpatient facility may be necessary. Aegis Hospice works well with those on hospice to meet their physical, mental, and social needs.


The hospice caregiving team provides the patient with physical and mental comfort. Their primary focus is ensuring the patient is alert, and pain free as possible. In all, they make sure the patient is comfortable during their final stage of life.


Depending on your loved one’s needs, both home health and hospice care options offer excellent services and could be of great benefit for your loved one. Aegis is well aware of these services and has an experienced team of professionals who can assist in working with these care options. We have been serving in Arizona since 2012 and have developed our careers as health care professionals in Arizona to be able to serve you on an individual and personal basis.
Our doors and phone lines are always open, so please contact us with any questions you may have.

Download the following sheet for more information on what Aegis has to offer in Home Health:HomeHealth