Hospice and Palliative Care: The Differences

There are particular types of care available when a serious or chronic illness is diagnosed. The doctor may offer the terms palliative and hospice care.  Regardless of the health impairment, both types are aimed to provide comfort, emotional support, and quality of life. This can offer help in tough choices as well for the patient and their family.

Palliative Care

Palliative care is a growing area of medical care.  It has shown how it can help with managing symptoms and the effects on daily life. This can begin right away for the patient as well as their families to get support in the following steps.  Meeting with this care team will also help with mental health and stress. If the time comes for end-of-life planning, palliative care providers can help with this too.

Palliative care is available at a hospital, nursing, or assisted living facility, at home, or in an outpatient office.  Regardless of the location, a plan will be put in place to ensure that the patient is comfortable.

Hospice Care

If a terminal illness is at the point where the doctor determines a patient has six months or less to live, a patient will be eligible for hospice care.

Hospice is aimed toward symptom relief when a choice has been reached that treatment is no longer working or the disease is too advanced.  When choosing hospice, emotional and spiritual well-being is still supported.

Patients under hospice care will still receive some of their medications to help manage their symptoms and ease any pain.  Hospice can be done at home, to make the patient feel most comfortable, or it can be done at an assisted living or a nursing home like Iliff.

Between palliative care and hospice, you’ll see many similarities in the care received.  However, palliative care is offered to those with a serious or long-term illness regardless of what stage they are at, while hospice is offered to those with a terminal illness who have less than six months to live.

If you or your loved one is facing a newly diagnosed illness, ask your doctor for a referral to get the support needed during this time.  You’ll find that hospice and palliative care are covered under insurance such as Medicare.  Resources will help make this transition to care easier for the patient and their families.