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Merck Manual

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Services to Know About

Services to Know About

  • Home care is medically supervised care in a person’s home by professional caregivers who may help give drugs, assess the person’s condition, and provide baths and other personal services.

  • Hospice care is care at the end of life that emphasizes relief of symptoms and provides emotional, spiritual, and social support for a dying person and family members. The setting may be the person’s home, a hospice facility, or another institution, such as a nursing home. Hospice-type care is provided in some hospitals. To obtain hospice care, a person usually has to be expected to live less than 6 months.

  • Nursing home care is residential care in a licensed facility with nurses and support workers.

  • Palliative care, like hospice care, focuses on relieving symptoms rather than prolonging life. Most large hospitals provide palliative care services that may be helpful when death is expected in the hospital.

  • Respite care is temporary care at home, in a nursing home, or in a hospice facility that enables family members or other caregivers to travel, rest, or attend to other matters. It may last days or weeks, depending on the care delivery system and funding.

  • Voluntary organizations provide a variety of financial and support services to people who are ill and their families. Such organizations usually focus on people who have a certain disease.