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Nursing Home or Hospice – What’s the Difference?

Nursing Home or Hospice

Understanding the differences between Nursing and Hospice can be hard for families – especially because not many people discuss these differences until the need arises. You may have heard the terms Nursing and Hospice thrown around, but what exactly are either of those and which is the better choice for your loved one?

Nursing Homes

In most scenarios, individuals arrive at nursing homes after having been cared for in some way or another at home or in assisted living communities or homes. A nursing home is an extended level of care that may be the result of someone falling and hurting themselves or experiencing some other physical ailment that makes care for themselves less plausible. Most times, these individuals are not considered terminal and there is no prognosis of a worsening condition.

Starting Nursing Home Care in Tucson, AZ

Similar to the process of starting hospice care, a doctor will verify that a nursing home is necessary. Please note that nursing home care is not the same as willingly going to a senior living facility. Depending on your financial resources and if long-term care insurance is available, you may need to apply for Medicaid. While many nursing homes accept residents who are on Medicaid, the program requires that your assets have fallen past a certain amount. In addition, if you are approved for Medicaid, most of your income, if not all, is expected to go towards your nursing home care expenses.


In contrast, hospice is care that focuses on pain management to reduce the suffering in a loved ones final months. Comfort, compassion and support, for patients and their family members are all an integral part of this process. Many types of hospice facilities are available in Tucson, and the options can seem overwhelming. At Southern Arizona Placement Agency, we help you determine which options are best for the circumstances your loved one is experiencing. Some examples of those options might be:

  • Doctor Services
  • Spiritual Services
  • On-Call Care
  • Inpatient Care
  • Bereavement Support
  • Occupational or Physical Therapy Services
  • And Many More

It it important to mention that hospice care does not need to be carried out in a facility. There are at home options and in many cases nursing homes and assisted livings also provide hospice services.

Starting Hospice Care in Tucson, AZ

For you to begin receiving hospice care, a doctor will make a referral for services and a representative should be in contact with your family or loved one in the following days. Depending on the circumstances, the process of hospice can be excelled much quicker. Qualification for hospice care is usually provided in the event that a terminal condition is present and is not expected to resolve its self within 4-6 months.Unlike nursing home care, hospice is usually paid for by medicare. Medicare is a federal program that is provided to adults who are 65+ or who are under 65 with a disability, while in contrast medicaid is state programs that an individual must qualify for if long term care is necessary.

Nursing Home Care & Hospice Conclusion

While at first glance these terms may seem interchangeable, they are both very different things. Nursing Home care is an extended care solution, while hospice is a temporary type of care that helps individuals with terminal conditions manage the last part of their life. At Southern Arizona Placement Agency, we have a great understanding of Medicaid and the options available. If you are looking for application help and placement options during the process, please contact us today at 520-345-0297.