What is the difference between hospice and palliative care?
It may seem like an easy question, but it’s actually a lot more complicated than you might think. In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into what hospice and palliative care are, how they differ from one another, and who provides them.
One reason that this question may be tough to answer is because the terms hospice and palliative care are often used interchangeably. This confusion can lead people to think that they’re talking about two different but related things when in fact, they are not.
Below we explore what each are and their differences so that you can determine which one is the right fit for your loved one.
What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care, in simplest terms, can be defined as the relief of physical and emotional symptoms for a serious illness. It’s not just about pain management though, as palliative care is typically provided to patients who have an incurable life-limiting diseases like cancer, dementia, stroke, and others.
Who Provides Palliative Care?
Palliative care is usually given as part of a team, with the input and guidance from doctors, nurses, chaplains or social workers.
What Services Does Palliative Care Include?
Palliative care includes a range of services that can be provided at home or in a facility. These may include:
- Promoting comfort with medications and other treatments
- Providing emotional support for the patient, family members and caregivers
- Helping patients manage their symptoms such as pain and nausea
- Improving quality of life by addressing issues like depression or anxiety
The goal is to both help treat terminally ill people, and provide a better quality of life during the duration of their illness. Palliatives are usually given at home or in an outpatient facility by nursing staff with input from doctors, nurses or social workers.
Now, What is Hospice Care?
Hospice care is a special kind of end-of-life care. It typically includes treatment for symptoms like pain or nausea, and it also helps patients manage emotional issues that come with terminal illness such as depression or anxiety.
However, the goal is to help terminally ill people live better before they die, typically those who have been given a diagnosis of 6 months or less to live. It’s to give patients a better quality of life during their final months; and does not include curative treatment.
The Difference Between Palliative Care and Hospice
Now, let’s go a bit deeper in exploring the differences between hospice and palliative care.
Perhaps the main difference between these two types of care is in the eligibility requirements for receiving these treatment care options.
Those who have been diagnosed with a serious long-term illness regardless of the stage is eligible for palliative care. For hospice care, anyone with a terminal illness whose doctor determines they have less than 6 months to live is eligible.
In addition, while the two are similar in that they involve symptom relief for the patient, hospice care does not include curative medical treatments. Whether you’re receiving hospice care at a long-term inpatient facility or at home, these services focus on providing comfort to terminally ill patients.
The goal of palliative care is also to control pain and other symptoms while improving quality of life for terminally ill patients. However, if you wish to receive curative treatments as part of your palliative care services, you may. Anyone with a serious long term illness regardless of the stage is eligible to receive these services.
Hospice and Palliative Care Teams
Hospice is administered by a team of physicians, nurses and social workers. Palliative care is given by healthcare professionals who work with patients’ personal physicians to treat symptoms at home or in an outpatient facility as long as it does not interfere the course of treatment for their terminal illness
In Home Care Options for Hospice and Palliative Care
Both hospice care and palliative care can be received at home, or in facilities. Below we explore the various options for each.
Inpatient Hospice Care
Patients who have been transferred to a hospice-certified hospital from their own residence may receive hospice services there for up to six weeks before being discharged back into personal nursing homes and other long-term healthcare facilities.
In Home Hospice Care
Outpatient hospice care, or in home hospice care, is a popular option for many patients and families, as it allows the patient to receive end of life care in the comfort of their own home.
The patient’s primary caregiver provides all of the necessary daily support outside the scope of medical professionals’ supervision, with intermittent visits by physicians and nurses as needed.
Patients are typically visited twice per day during this phase of treatment until death occurs. Monitoring levels will increase closer to death when symptoms worsen.
Medical specialists may visit more often depending on how progress is monitored.
In Home Palliative Care
In home palliative care is a service that provides relief for people living with chronic or terminal health conditions. This type of care can provide patients and their families the necessary support to maintain a home setting, while managing symptoms such as nausea, anxiety, depression, pain management etc.
Palliative Care Hospices
Hospice facilities provide both inpatient and outpatient palliative care services for people who have a life expectancy of six months or less due to their illness. These types of programs offer symptom relief as well as emotional support for families to help them cope going through this difficult time period together.
To Learn More About in Home Hospice and Palliative Care Options
At Elite Care at Home, we strive to provide the highest quality in home hospice and palliative care services to those in the South Florida area.
Our team of compassionate and trained caregivers provide needed symptom management services and support to loved ones as needed.
We understand this is a difficult decision to make, and we will be there every step of the way. Call today to speak with our team.
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