Hospitalization vs. Home Care: Which is Best for Your Loved One?

According to the Stanford School of Medicine, studies have shown the vast majority of Americans would rather die at home if possible, but the reality is only 20 percent do. Approximately 60 percent die in acute care hospitals and the remainder in nursing homes.

It can be difficult to determine whether at home primary care or hospitalization is best, which makes it important to consider the pros and cons of each before making this challenging decision for your loved one.

Pros of Home Care

Freedom. Home care means more freedom and the opportunity for greater independence during the final stages of life. It’s possible to have friends and family visit as often as they like and whenever they like. Your loved one can have more of a sense of normalcy, eating on their own schedule without having to follow a particular routine that they may not be used to.

Less Costly. Average costs for home health care vary significantly depending on the particular locale and the provider. In most cases, however, it’s much cheaper than hospital care. On average, research has found that it’s 52 percent less than care given in a hospital setting.

Typically, a home health care nurse will give baths, provide any necessary therapy, and administer medications, while a family member helps with transportation and daily chores like cleaning and cooking. However, it is possible to hire a companion to assist with those tasks if time constraints don’t allow.

Reduced Stress. Being at home means your loved one will be in a familiar environment that helps to reduce the inevitable stress that comes with having a terminal diagnosis.

Cons of Home Care

It May Not Be Possible to Get All Needs Met. Every patient has different needs, which means what worked for one may not work for another. Sometimes treatment can’t be given in the home.

Insurance Issues. In some situations, home care may not be covered by your loved one’s insurance company which could mean paying out of pocket or switching to private health insurance.

Equipment and Other Adjustments. It may be necessary to have certain equipment at home or make adjustments such as ramps and railings that can be expensive, adding further to the cost of home care.

Availability of Caregivers. Caregivers have to take on a big responsibility that requires time and effort. It’s important to consider whether or not all of the needs of your loved one can be met, from moving and lifting them to bringing them to doctor appointments and taking care of things around the house.

Pros Of Hospital Care

Healthcare Professionals Will Always Be Available. If your loved one’s health starts to worsen, being in a hospital means that they’ll get care right away. They’ll also have help with walking, dressing, bathing, and meals will always be ready.

It’s Usually the Better Option for Those Who Need Lots of Care. Hospital care is usually the best option for those who require a lot of care, especially for those who don’t have family members that can ease the burden placed on caregivers at home.

Con of Hospital Care

It Can Be Uncomfortable. It can be difficult for anyone to adapt to staying in a room with other patients. Even if that’s not the case, hospitals make many people feel uncomfortable.

Visiting Hours. When not at home, family members and friends will have to adhere to particular visiting hours. That support can be very beneficial to a patient, making a hospital stay difficult knowing they only have a short time to spend with those they love.

Exposure to Illnesses. When in a hospital, your loved one will naturally be exposed to illnesses that can worsen their condition.

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