When a patient lives with a chronic illness that affects their quality of life, it can be helpful to bring in home health or hospice nurses to help with daily medical needs and support.
Family members carry a lot of responsibilities to keep up with the ongoing requirements for their loved ones. These skilled medical providers offset the burden on the family by addressing the patient’s unique medical needs.
Skilled Nurses Work with the Doctors
Team effort is essential to provide the optimal level of care for each patient. Skilled nurses work in the home, but they also coordinate care and services with other providers – such as doctors and medical specialists.
The ideal home care plan, including hospice and home health services, includes coordination between a team of providers. The goal is to optimize overall support based on the patients’ specific requirements.
For example, doctors determine diagnosis and treatment plans. Then, nurses oversee the implementation of these care plans through in-home services. Ongoing communication between nurses, doctors, and other care providers ensures that the patient’s care plan is always based on their current medical needs.
The Difference Between Home Health and Hospice Nurses
Is there a difference between a home health nurse and a hospice nurse? Often, these nurses have the same level of training, but their experience might be specific to the type of services they are offering.
The main difference between a home health nurse and a hospice nurse is the type of care they provide. Of course, there are overlaps between these services, but the focus and priority are different.
- Home Health Nurses: A nurse providing home health services focuses on recovery care. These services are designed to be short-term until the patient meets certain recovery milestones. Home health care can be available for situations such as rehabilitation after an accident, surgery, childbirth, hospitalization, or an illness.
- Hospice Nurses: On the other hand, hospice nurses aren’t involved in recovery or rehabilitative care. These nurses provide services to improve a patient’s comfort in the final stages of life. Hospice nurses work on a team of providers who address everything relating to a terminal illness, from physical symptoms to emotional and spiritual support.
The priority in home health is to help a patient recover and regain independence as quickly as possible. The focus in hospice care is to promote dignity and comfort so a person can live as fully as possible in the final stages of a terminal illness.
Nurses are a Vital Part of a Hospice Care Team
Nurses offer the hands-on support a patient needs, making these medical providers a critical part of the hospice care team. Each patient receives a personalized care plan, and nurses are usually involved in the day-to-day activities and medical support that is necessary at this time.
One of the benefits of working with a home health and hospice agency is that the patient and their family members have access to a variety of care providers. In addition, this team-focused approach provides the patient with the best care possible.
Types of Hospice and Home Health Nurses
Among the hospice and home health teams, you’ll see various types of nurses involved in the patient’s care. Nurses often choose a specific type of care to focus on in their careers. They can apply their education and skills in particular care specialties, such as:
The first type of nurse that a family will talk to is an admission provider. This nurse is involved in the initial assessment to design a patient’s care plan and offer education for caregivers, families, and patients.
The admissions nurse also maintains communication with the patient’s doctors and medical specialists to learn more about the patient’s unique needs. Part of this process is to determine whether a patient has met eligibility requirements for hospice care.
An admissions nurse works closely with the entire team to create a care plan that is designed for the patient’s unique needs. The nurse also oversees other aspects of onboarding a patient into home health or hospice care, such as ordering specialty equipment.
The next type of home health or hospice nurse is a case manager. Once the patient receives care services, this manager is in a hands-on, direct role to provide ongoing care and continuity of services.
A hospice care manager coordinates and oversees the direction for the patient’s care – from start to finish. In addition, they coordinate how resources are allocated. Additionally, it’s important that the patient’s care plan is formulated based on the doctor’s recommendations, with continuing adjustments as needed for changing health circumstances.
In addition to addressing the patient’s needs during this time, a case manager also addresses the family’s needs. For example, they can offer support for family education, counseling, grief resources, and other services a family might need before, during, and after a family says goodbye to a loved one.
The next type of hospice or home health nurse is involved in the day-to-day care the patient is receiving. For example, visit nurses work under the case manager, providing hands-on care for medication administration, symptom management, and more.
Follow-up care duties might include medical file documentation, wound care, colostomy support, or other medical care that the patient requires on an ongoing basis.
Emergency Care Nurses
Triage nurses can also fall into this category: providers who help with emergency situations. If there is a healthcare emergency, then a triage nurse assists in assessing the circumstances and coordinating care for the immediate care needs.
Triage nurses are involved in taking emergency calls from family members. These nurses need to be critical thinkers and fast to respond, with the ability to execute a care plan quickly while prioritizing the most critical care needs.
Home Health and Hospice Nurses: Direct Care for Patients
As you learn more about hospice services, you will see that these nurses are directly involved in the ongoing physical care that a patient needs. This administration of care is essential to ensure the patient’s comfort and quality of life.
Since nurses are offering ongoing support to the patient and their family members, a strong bond often develops between everyone involved. In addition, nurses play a first-hand role in helping patients enjoy their life to the fullest. The goal is to help each patient be as symptom-free and pain-free as possible.
In addition to the physical support and medical care, hospice and home health nurses also offer emotional and mental health support to their patients. As a result, a close bond often forms between the nurse and family members.
Avatar Healthcare: Skilled Nursing for Quality Services
Do you or a loved one need in-home health support or hospice services? Call our team to learn more about the ways our team can help. We also offer home care services. Contact Avatar Healthcare anytime you have questions or need information about these services: (844) 422-5528.