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Home Health Care Services

Unlike in-home care, home health care can only be arranged under a physician's order and is covered under insurance. This short-term, skilled medical care is delivered or supervised by nurses and therapists (physical, occupational, and speech). It's typically provided while someone is recovering from a serious illness, accident, or surgery. In other words, if you can get out to attend these appointments, it is strongly encouraged that you continue to do so.

To determine which level of care you or your loved one requires, take some time to evaluate your abilities and needs. Keep in mind that the care level may change with time. At first, you may just require a care companion or in home caregiver. But as PD advances, you may need more help with personal care or require health care services in the home. Your doctor can help you understand if or when you might qualify for home health.

Keep in mind that these medical personnel stop in, do their job, and leave. Meanwhile, the brunt of daily care needs will fall to the family or hired caregivers to support the loved one living with Parkinson's at home.

The point to take away is - there are home health care services and stages for every need to live with Parkinson's at home through the end of life.

Palliative Care

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.

Palliative Care is provided by a specially trained team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists who work together with a patient's other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. Palliative Care is based on the needs of the patient, not on the patient's prognosis. It is appropriate at any age, any stage, and it can be provided along with curative treatment.

The goal of palliative care is to relieve suffering and provide the best possible quality of life for those living with PD and their families. Symptoms Palliative Care can manage may include pain, depression, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping and anxiety. The team will help you gain the strength to carry on with daily life.

Often those offering Palliative Care also offer Hospice Care. It is important that your intentions are clear when distinguishing the two. Palliative Care can be best be recommended by a physician. Like home health care, services are generally covered by insurance. The biggest difference between Palliative Care and Home Health Care is that Palliative Care doesn't require recovery to continue services. You can also have both home health care and palliative care at the same time in some instances.


Hospice care may be considered for anyone whom doctors believe to have a life expectancy of less than six months. Usually at this point, active treatment aimed at recovery stops, and hospice care is initiated. Hospice care focuses on producing the best possible quality of life in the patient's remaining time. To be eligible to elect hospice care under Medicare, an individual must:

  • Be entitled to Part A of Medicare

  • Be diagnosed with Parkinson's

  • Have a prognosis of six months or less if the disease runs its normal course

If you qualify for hospice care, you and your family will work with the hospice team to setup a plan of care that meets your needs. All hospices must provide certain services, but each will have a different approach as to how these services are offered. So, its important to do a thorough interview with a few different hospice organizations and choose the one that meets your needs.

Your physician can recommend a hospice provider, or you can get recommendations from family and friends. The following types of services are typically offered through hospice.

  • Pain Management: The goal of pain management is to help you feel comfortable while allowing you to stay in control and enjoy your life. Discomfort, pain, and side effects are managed to make sure that you are as free of pain and symptoms as possible.

  • Counseling and Support: Helps you and your family with psychological, emotional, and spiritual issues.

  • Inpatient Care: Most hospice care is centered in the home; however, there may be occasions when you need to be temporarily admitted to a hospital, extended-care facility, or an inpatient hospice center. Your hospice organization will make all the arrangements and help you through the process.

  • Spiritual Care: Since people differ in their spiritual needs and religious beliefs, spiritual care is setup to meet your specific needs. Hospice chaplains can provide support and an objective, listening presence as one considers questions about the purpose of life, suffering, need for forgiveness, and the progressive losses that accompany a serious illness.

  • Family Informational Meetings: Hospice may schedule regular family meetings usually led by the hospice nurse or social worker to keep family members informed about your condition and what to expect.

  • Coordination of Care Services: The hospice team coordinates and supervises all care. This team is responsible for making sure that all involved service providers share information to provide the most effective care. This may include the coordination of information between doctors, pharmacists, the inpatient facility, the home care agency, clergy, and funeral directors.

  • Respite Care: For patients being cared for in their homes, respite care may be offered to allow friends and family some time away from caregiving. Respite care is usually given in the hospice facility or in beds that are set aside in nursing homes or hospitals.

  • Bereavement Care: The hospice care team usually consisting of a trained volunteer, clergy member, or professional counselor will work with loved ones to help them through the grieving process.

One of the biggest benefits of hospice care is access and delivery of needed products and supplies. This can include everything related to incontinence supplies such as diapers and pads, to hygiene needs and nutritional supplement products like Ensure drinks.

A misconception about hospice is that you can stay on hospice for years. While that may be the case, all hospice organizations are different. If you improve greatly beyond the qualifications of hospice, you may be reverted back to Palliative Care. While some people may stay on hospice for years, more and more agencies will look to assess and requalify hospice services due to its demand - which could mean the service temporarily is suspended until you requalify.


National Association of Home Care and Hospice (NAHCH) 

Nation's largest trade association representing the interests and concerns of home care agencies, hospices, and home care aid organizations.


National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO)

Represents hospice and palliative care programs and professionals in the United States and works to expand access to hospice care and improve end-of-life.

Disclaimer:  At PAA, our desire is to be a GO TO Resource for everything you need for the Parkinson's diagnosis to live a quality life with PD. We want to make sure you have all resources you need as you plan your journey with Parkinson's now and into the future so that you can reflect and discern what decisions you want to make with the appropriate insights to help you choose and build a plan that is unique as your journey. The PAA, nor the contents on this website, should never be a replacement for professional expertise and guidance from medical, legal, or financial professionals. Our goal is to equip you for those conversations. As such, the PAA cannot be held accountable for your choices and outcomes while navigating your Parkinson's condition. 

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