Hospice and palliative care focus on symptom and pain relief, but they differ in the care prognosis. Palliative care focuses on quality of life, while hospice care focuses on life expectancy. Palliative care can be provided indefinitely, but a patient receives hospice until death. Here are some of the differences between hospice and palliative care:
What Is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is the active treatment of pain, symptoms, and stress in patients with severe illnesses with patient and family support. Patients can receive palliative care in an outpatient or inpatient setting. Experts provide treatment at home through a visiting nurse service. The goal is to improve quality of life, relieve suffering, and help patients meet their objectives.
What Is Hospice Care?
Hospice care is compassionate comfort care that provides pain management, symptom relief, and emotional support to terminally ill patients. The goal is to give a sense of comfort, support, and care for the patient’s last months or weeks of life. Hospice services are available at home or in long-term care facilities.
Hospice and Palliative Care Differences
1. Time Frames
Palliative care is active, continuous, and can be indefinite, while hospice care is an active phase before death. In palliative care, the patient’s symptoms are actively treated, which can cause a long and painful process. In hospice, symptoms get observed, and the patient receives all possible treatments to reduce pain for six months or less.
Palliative care focuses on improving the quality of life, while hospice care focuses on improving the patient’s life expectancy. Palliative treatments can cause pain and complications, which makes it challenging to improve the quality of life. During hospice, all treatments that can decrease pain and suffering are given by a team of experts.
Patients can receive hospice care in the patient home, hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, veterans’ facilities, and other facilities. Palliative care can be given at an outpatient or inpatient facility.
Hospice home care may not last for very long, while palliative care lasts the duration of the illness. Palliative care is a constant process where treatment and care are provided until the patient dies.
Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance usually cover hospice services. Elderly people are typically eligible for hospice regardless of their ability to pay. Most health insurance covers palliative care, but the amount of coverage might vary.
6. Care Providers Team
Hospice is mainly provided by a team of professionals such as nurses, social workers, and chaplains. The experts work with the patient’s family or caregivers to determine the available treatments and how best to utilize them. A nurse or an expert can be on call 24 hours a day.
Palliative care has a team of specialists. These specialists include nurses, social workers, psychologists, doctors, and chaplains. The team will assess the patient’s needs and provide quality care.
Before you or your loved one choose whether to go with palliative or hospice care, think about the goals and the type of care required. Both are effective in treating severe illness and pain. Palliative care focuses on quality of life, while hospice care focuses on life expectancy.
Talk to a healthcare provider or a doctor to determine the best care for you or your loved ones.