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What types of home care are available to cancer patients?

Home health agencies
If you need skilled home care services, they will usually be given by a home health agency. The same agency may offer different kinds of home care services through nurses, therapists, social workers, homemakers and home care aides, medical equipment and supply dealers, and volunteers. Some agencies limit their services to nursing and 1 or 2 other specialties. If care is needed from more than one specialist, the home health agency will set up a team to provide care that covers your needs. Because home health agencies hire and supervise their personnel, they assume liability for all care. Home care services are usually available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, though most home services are done during the day when possible. 
Hospice care
This type of care involves a core team of skilled experts and volunteers who provide all-around medical, psychological, and spiritual care when cure is no longer possible. Hospice care is usually based at home so that families take part in the patient's care. Trained hospice professionals are on call 24 hours a day. They help the family care for the patient, help ensure that the patient's wishes are honored, and keep the patient comfortable and free of pain. They also help support the family through this time. Many hospice programs are Medicare certified and licensed according to state requirements.
Homemaker and home care aide agencies
These agencies help patients by preparing meals and helping them bathe, dress, and keep house. They may also sit with patients who cannot be left alone for medical or safety reasons. This is sometimes called "companion service." Some states require that these agencies be licensed and meet certain standards of care.
Private-duty agencies
Private-duty agencies provide people with nursing, homemaker, home care aide, and companion services. In most cases, these agencies are not licensed or regulated by the government. Staffing registries often serve as employment agencies for home care nurses and aides. They match the provider with the patient and collect a finder's fee.
Independent providers
These are nurses, therapists, aides, homemakers, and companions who are privately employed by those who need their services. The patient or family must recruit, hire, and supervise the provider. The patient or family pays the provider directly.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.