November is National Home Health and Hospice Month and is the perfect time to honor and thank all the dedicated nurses, therapists, and aides who provide high-quality health care and supportive services in patients’ homes throughout the United States, but especially right here in our own community!

These home care professionals make the difference between life and death on a daily basis, combining high tech services with human compassion as they do what is best for the patients they serve.

This year’s theme, “Home is the Center of Care”, describes the critical and central role that home care and hospice will play in the delivery of health care in the coming years. A wide range of forces are joining to drive health care toward home and the community.

Home care is not just the preferred choice for most patients; it’s also the best bang for our health care dollars! Home care saves the United States and commercial health insurers billions of health care dollars each year. There is no more cost-effective provider of health care in our country. According to the National Association of Home Care and Hospice, the average cost for a typical hospital stay is nearly $2,000 per day and $559 per day for a typical nursing home stay. In comparison, home care costs an average of $44 a day for a 60 day!

Home care, combined with technology, helps the many U.S. seniors who live at home to remain independent, enriches their lives, and allows them to keep in touch with those they love.   A variety of services can be accomplished in the home by skilled and credentialed professionals.  Registered professional nurses are available for teaching, observation, procedures, and chronic disease management requiring the skills of a nurse.  Licensed physical, speech, and occupational therapists provide treatments requiring their special level of skill.  Certified home health aides offer assistance with daily activities, such as bathing, grooming, and eating.  Nutrition assistance and medical social services are also part of the home health care plan.  Friends and family become part of the care giving process, with the home health nurse teaching them basic techniques, such as administering medication or caring for wounds.

National Home Care and Hospice Month is the ideal time to learn more about Home Health and Hospice – important services that we typically don’t think about until we need them.  No one expects to need home care or hospice services, but what a relief to know this type of care is available – whether it’s for you or a family member – right here in your community!

As we prepare for Thanksgiving and recall our many gifts, please remember the home care professionals in our community who make a difference every day for our loved ones. They make it possible for the healing to begin at home.