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Hospice Agency Vs Hospice Care Center: What is the Difference?

Hospice care is more or less the compilation of medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support for terminal patients and their families. The primary objective of hospice staff and volunteers is to manage the symptoms of a terminal illness with the sole aim of promoting comfort and dignity.

These health workers are known to be experts at pain management and they help terminal patients live out the remainder of their lives. Most people believe that hospice entails going to—or ending up — in a place. However, it is imperative to note that hospice isn’t a place.

Instead, hospice is a unique philosophy of care that strives to enhance comfort and general quality of life all within the last months, weeks, and days of life. Most often, an interdisciplinary healthcare team manages hospice care, all depending on each patient’s needs and preferences.

A hospice doctor or medical director is tasked with overseeing the patient’s care, although a cancer doctor and/or primary care doctor can be involved too. Doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, dietitians, home health aides, clergy, therapists, and trained volunteers work together to help the patient and primary caregiver make decisions that enhance the patient’s comfort and dignity.

Have it in mind there will be regular reports, coupled with family and care team meetings to analyze the patient’s situation to ensure all needs are adequately catered for.

Hospice care will also include palliative care to alleviate symptoms and offer social, emotional, and spiritual support. However, note that hospice care is most often provided in two ways: as a hospice agency in the patients’ home or in a hospice care center.

Note that the type of hospice program perfectly suited for a patient will more or less depend on the patient’s condition, prognosis, and living situation. It most often falls in the doctor to discuss with the patient or the family to note whether the care should be provided at home, or if the patient should be admitted into a care center.

Difference Between a Hospice Agency and Hospice Care Center

Just as it was noted above, hospice care is most often provided in two ways: as a hospice agency in the patients’ home or in a hospice care center. However, to properly note the difference between these two forms of hospice care, it is vital to note their benefits to patients.

Hospice Agency

Also referred to as outpatient or in-home hospice care, this is the most common type of hospice care and it is offered by most hospice care providers in the United States. This entails that the terminal patient will be receiving hospice care at home.

They are provided with access to hospice nurses, social workers, trained volunteers, and other staff members who will always strive to cope with their disease, manage their symptoms, and provide emotional and spiritual support.

Benefits of In-Home Hospice Care

Note that this sort of hospice care is perfect for a good number of people as it allows them to be cared for by family members and friends. Also, have it in mind that a good number of patients who receive or need hospice care prefer the familiarity of their own living environment and the comfort of their home.

This sort of hospice care may also be ideal for anyone who is looking to avoid going to a hospital out of fear, anxiety, or distaste. Additionally, this sort of care limits the need to travel to the hospital or nursing home.

A good number of terminal patients believe it’s more convenient to get in and out of the house than they would find at a hospital or nursing home. They also prefer their own living space especially since most homes feature adequate space for one or two beds. Nevertheless, have it in mind that this sort of care can be more daunting for family members.

For instance, family members are most often expected to carry out round-the-clock care to the patient and will have to be ready to deal with the emotional stress that comes with catering to the varying needs of a loved one during such difficult times.

Patients who prefer this sort of service are most often advised to prepare their families by discussing their end-of-life plans with them.

Hospice Care Center

A hospice care center, unlike hospice care offered at the patient’s home, is a free-standing or independent facility primarily designed to offer hospice care.

In these centers, patients are provided with round-the-clock care from hospice nurses, social workers, and other hospice staff who are well trained to manage end-of-life issues. In these centers, patients also get palliative pain management, comfort measures, and other treatment.

Benefits of Hospice Care Centers

Just as it was noted above, in a hospice care center, patients are provided round-the-clock care, and they also get easy access to medical care at any time. Also, note that nurses and other hospice staff will be available around the clock to ensure patients receive adequate physical and emotional support.

Have it in mind that this sort of care is very important, especially for patients who can barely communicate or have limited vision or hearing. According to experts, this sort of hospice care is a good choice if the family cannot provide adequate care for the patient at home.

When family members can barely deal with the demands of caregiving, it is always pertinent for the patient to get admitted into hospice care centers. Aside from that, some families find it challenging to cope with the emotional or physical stress of providing the necessary care at home.

This sort of hospice care is perfectly suited for individuals who live alone. Truth be told, it is very difficult for a person to cope with end-of-life issues when he or she lives alone.

A hospice care center offers a very conducive platform or social environment for these patients to interact with other terminally ill people, coupled with well-trained medical personnel and volunteers who strive every day to offer physical and emotional support.


Hospice care is primarily for patients dealing with life-limiting illnesses or health conditions. It is holistic in its approach; it caters to the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of terminal patients. Although a good percentage of hospice care is provided at home, but when symptoms are becoming very difficult to handle at home—the patient needs to be transferred to a hospice care center.

Either type of hospice care may be suited for a patient, but it is always imperative they discuss this decision with their doctor, nurse, or social worker so they can make an informed decision on the best type of hospice program for them.