How Home Care and Hospice Can Make a Difference

News headlines have been splashed recently with terms, such as “fiscal cliff” and “debt ceiling.” Congress has been negotiating for months on ways to reduce spending while also still providing the best services to their constituents. In many instances, finding those solutions can be incredibly challenging. However, there is one obvious step to help alleviate the some of the rising costs of healthcare, while still providing top-notch service – home care and hospice.

Positive Impact of Home Care and Hospice

Home care and hospice are both proven ways to help reduce costs. A recent study showed that when used as the first post-acute setting after a hip fracture, home care saved Medicare an average of more than $5,000 per patient. Home care can also help reduce costs through lowering rehospitalization rates and improved chronic care management, as the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation demonstrated in this video in November.

Hospice care can also reduce costs. A recent Duke study stated that hospice care reduced spending by more than $2,300 per patient compared to normal care, which typically included costly hospitalizations near death.

Improve Your Loved One’s Quality of Life

Most importantly, both home care and hospice care improve quality of life while providing cost benefits. The overwhelming majority of patients prefer to receive treatment in their own homes, and both home care and hospice care allow that for patients. Studies have shown that hospice patients live longer than other patients in similar conditions. Furthermore, home care patients recover faster than similar patients.

These two vital care choices should be more receptive to new patients and not more restrictive. Ending costly rehospitalizations through home care and expensive hospital stays at the end-of-life should be a primary focus of how to reduce costs in healthcare.  By utilizing home care and hospice services to a wider group of patients, we can look past “cliffs” and “ceilings” and optimistically consider a large potential of savings, all at great benefits to patients.