Home Health 101: The Intro You Never Had Could Change Your Life

October 27, 2015

There are many professions that cross paths with home care and hospice services. Nurses, therapists, and social workers in particular will often find themselves interacting with home care providers more so than with any other group of colleagues, and yet the thought of transitioning their career into a more immersive role with their counterparts might never come to mind. 

Medical schools frequently overlook home care as a career path—which is unfortunate, because working in our industry is challenging, rewarding, and inspiring all at once. Luckily, we’re here to give you the Home Health/Home Care/Hospice 101 course you missed out on, so you can decide if your dream job awaits.

Let’s get started. 

The Difference Between Home Health, Home Care, and Hospice

First, the basics: home health, home care, and hospice are three different types of care. Although they’re often grouped together in a looser definition of home care services, they aim to accomplish vastly different goals. Here’s a quick guide to help you decipher each:

Home Health

Put simply, home health is acute care given to a patient in their home. It’s curative, meaning the primary goal is to help the patient regain a level of independence in the home. Patients with chronic diseases, orthopedic issues, or wounds will typically be recommended to home health.

Home care

Home care is designed to help a patient remain in their home despite being somewhat dependent on care. Home care services help with housekeeping duties, errands, and other non-medical needs. Being placed in home care does not necessarily mean the patient has a health issue that requires attention.


Hospice is care delivered to a patient in their home, a hospital, or a nursing facility. Unlike home health, the goal of hospice is to provide palliative rather than curative care. When a patient’s outcome is terminal, hospice provides them with end-of-life care that’s focused toward relieving their pain and easing the stress that their loved ones might be experiencing.

Not Your Typical Health Care Environment

Working in home health, home care, or hospice is not your typical medical job. It is a gift and a privilege to give care to patients in their homes. You might not consider home health to be a “high tech” industry, but indeed it is, and professionals in this line of work carry an extremely high level of responsibility.

In a hospital, a nurse can ask another nurse for a second opinion. In home health, that nurse is alone with the patient and must utilize the full breadth of his or her experience to provide the care needed. Likewise, home care and hospice require the ability to adapt to new environments and react to a new situation at any given moment.

What It Takes

A career in home care is not for everyone. It takes a truly special person to be able to treat multiple patients a day, each in their own unique setting with their own special guidelines. What qualities do you need to have in order to be successful in home care? Use this checklist:

  • Flexibility – From traffic to pets to bad weather, you can count on a change of plans.
  • Knowledge – You will frequently be the only care provider in the room, meaning you will get a real life test on every class, lecture, and quiz you had in nursing or medical school.
  • Communication – Aside from caring for patients, you’re the eyes for the doctors, the support for the families, and the messenger to your colleagues. Communication is an absolute must.
  • An endless motor – You’re always on the go. Can you physically sustain your energy through the long, tiring days?
  • Organizational skills – It may be a cliché item to put on your résumé, but organizational skills are a prerequisite to any job in home care. Things can get hectic, and when they do, how well organized you are will determine your ability to rise above the challenges.
  • Passion – Above all, home care requires a deep passion for helping patients and families during their most trying
  • times. You have to love what you do.

A Rewarding Career

If you’re looking for a productive, rewarding career that puts good into the world, look no further than home care. It’s a calling for those who prefer an active lifestyle and thrive on emotional fulfillment. Here are just a few of the things you’ll love about working in home care:

  • A flexible schedule
  • Above average salaries
  • Being out and about
  • Accomplishing goals
  • Lifetime bonds with colleagues, families, and patients
  • Plenty of room for growth

Working at Mission Healthcare

Mission Healthcare believes in taking care of our employees so they can take care of our patients. We provide comprehensive training that spans online learning, training modules, and on-site shadowing—so you can learn the ropes at your pace until everyone feels comfortable with you seeing patients on your own.

Think you might want to work for us? We’d love to hear from you. Browse our open positions and get in touch!

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