Home Health Care Defined

Home care and hospice services are usually provided by home care or hospice organizations but may also be obtained from registries and independent providers. Home care organizations include home health agencies; hospices; homemaker and home care agencies; staffing and private-duty agencies; and companies specializing in medical equipment and supplies, pharmaceuticals, and drug infusion therapy. Often, a single organization offers multiple services, or several types of home care organizations may merge to provide a wide variety of services through an integrated system.

Home care and hospice services generally are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Depending on the patient's needs, these services may be provided by an individual or a diverse team of health care specialists on a part-time, intermittent, hourly, or shift basis. Home care is provided not only to the aged, but also to individuals recovering from surgery, a fall or accident. Hospice care is provided for the terminally ill and their families.

Explore the types of services and providers in greater detail in the Glossary of Services and Providers. Delve deeper into Hospice Care in the End of Life Planning section of our website.