While most people would choose to go to a hospital in case of an emergency situation, people who have the possibility of planning out their care, or who are in a hospital for a long period of time may instead have the option of choosing home care over being in the hospital. For instance, women giving birth may choose a home midwife over a hospital birth, or people who are confined to a bed may choose to be at home rather than in a hospital. In some cases, such as when a patient is in a coma, the patient’s family may even choose to move the patient from a hospital to a home so that he or she can be close to the family. There are a variety of reasons why one would choose home care over being in a hospital or vice-versa, but all of the following reasons should be considered before making a permanent choice.
1. Personalized care
One obvious advantage of home care is that the personal nurses or attendants become closer to the patient and can offer service more specifically tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes. In hospitals, this might not always be the case, though in some cases hospitals may be superior in that they have a wider variety of equipment and services available, simply from sheer size.
2. Constant monitoring
Some forms of home care have a service where a nurse or attendant is at the home for a number of hours each day, certain days of the week. In hospitals, there is always a nurse or doctor to monitor the patient, no matter the hour. For someone whose condition is more unpredictable, this could be a great relief. In other cases, however, where home care is offered twenty-four hours a day, hospitals may seem inferior because the nurse’s attention must potentially be split between many different patients.
Comfort in hospitals may vary widely from comfort of home care. On the one hand, home care is more personal being, obviously, in one’s own home, while hospitals are known for being more sterile and less homey. On the other hand, hospitals have special equipment designed to make a patient’s stay more comfortable, while home care may not have the full range of equipment to ease the patient’s discomfort. In addition, nurses in a hospital may be assigned to a particular ward in which they have special training to ease a patient’s comfort best, and treat the patient most efficiently. For more specialized, unusual treatments, choosing a hospital might be the best option, most particularly in one with a specialized ward.
Though one wishes that this were never an issue, cost can be an enormous factor in deciding between a hospital and home care. In some cases, hospitals may offer services that are far more expensive than the home care alternative, mainly for the variety of additional services that they offer, while in other cases hospitals may be far cheaper than having to hire a constant service to supervise the person. For a family stressed with bills, cost may be an important factor, especially if care is relatively comparable.