SIKESTON - Providing services that enable people to enjoy the comforts of home is the focus of both home care and hospice. Fittingly, November is both National Home Care Month and National Hospice Month.
The purpose in observing National Home Care Month is "just to give people a better understanding of home care and how we can assist them in their homes and keep them out of an alternative setting such as a nursing home," according to Felicia Baker, director of Missouri Delta Medical Center's Continu-Care.
"Home care is any service that can go into the home to provide care," she explained. "It covers skilled care, such as an RN or therapist, and it also encompasses medical equipment companies and home infusion companies and in-home agencies.
"It takes a special person to go into the home to do that," she added.
While many people may associate the home care services with the elderly, "it really includes adults and children," according to Kevin Ammon, administrator at Home Advantage in Sikeston.
"Home care encompasses all health and social services delivered in a private residence and assists people recovering from surgery, the disabled, chronically or terminally ill," he said. "Basic services include medical, nursing, physical therapy, and therapeutic or pain management treatment. We also offer assistance with activities of daily living which basically includes things like bathing, dressing, cooking and household chores."
National Home Care Month "allows us an opportunity to make the public aware of the valuable service we in the industry provide to the health care of Missourians," said Roberta Lucy, administrator for Allen Home Care Services Inc. "The care we provide in private residences in this region allows the sick and disabled to remain in the one place everyone wants to be - at home."
VNA also provides home health care, according to Diane Chappell, hospice director for the Visiting Nurse Association of Southeast Missouri. "A lot of people don't know about that," she said.
There are many treatments that patients can receive in their homes instead of going back and forth to the hospital. Additionally, home health care "helps to bridge the gap between hospital stays and getting well," Chappell said.
Chappell said National Hospice Month is also important as "many people still do not know about hospice and the services it can provide."
"The earlier they know about hospice the better," she said. "People need to know they can die at home peacefully and comfortably in familiar settings."
"Most people think hospice is what you do when there is nothing left to do," J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, explained in a press release. "That couldn't be farther from the truth. Hospice provides a wide range of services to the family and patient that maximize quality of life and help people live as fully as possible, on their terms."
One million patients were served by the nation's 3,300 hospice providers last year, according to NHPCO reports. In most states, Medicare and Medicaid cover services provided by hospice as do most private insurance plans and HMOs.