Nearing the End of Life

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Money and income

Choosing home care

Your family and friends are considered informal home caregivers. Formal home care is a business that provides care to all types of patients with a wide variety of needs. Home care can provide anything from skilled nursing care to housekeeping services. The focus of home care is on improving health and quality of life. Skilled home care services from a certified agency can do a lot to help with you with symptoms and teach about medicines, central venous lines, and wound care, to name just a few services.

A doctor’s prescription (sometimes called an order) is needed for all home care services. In most states you must meet strict criteria for home care. This can include homebound status (the patient only leaves the home to get medical treatments), a need for skilled services, the care is needed part-time only, and the services provided are reasonable and necessary. These Medicare-mandated guidelines can make it hard for end-of-life care to be managed through a home care agency. You can read more about this in our document called Home Care Agencies.


Last Medical Review: 01/14/2014
Last Revised: 02/06/2014