Hospice Versus Palliative Care
When a person is diagnosed with a terminal or chronic illness, the person has two options available for treatment. One is hospice care and the other is palliative care. People should understand the difference between the two in order to make the best decision for the patient. Hospice and palliative care both concentrate on improving the patient’s health or in ensuring that the quality of life of the patient is improved. A hospice can offer palliative care, but it is not necessary that the patient will succumb to the illness.
When you look at hospice versus palliative care, often people confuse the two thinking they are one and the same. However, the latter concentrates on relieving symptoms and pain, the illness does not have to be terminal, and the patient can still continue treatment for the illness. On the other hand, hospice care is primarily for terminal illnesses and usually the patient is not expected to survive beyond 6 months. In addition, hospice care tries to alleviate symptoms and pain, as patients no longer seek treatment for their illness.
Palliative care looks to keep the patient at ease during the illness. It is also considered important for life threatening illnesses when patients cannot tolerate the side-effects of the medications and treatment. If the illness is not treatable, then palliative care often is the only care given to the patient. However, at times, such a patient may opt for hospice care. In this care, no treatment for the illness is given. Instead health care professionals only concentrate on making the patient feel comfortable in the last stages of their lives.
The confusing part for many is that palliative care is often given to terminally ill as well as those who are not terminally ill. In the former, comfort is of primary importance, while in the latter comfort as well as treatment for the illness is given importance. That is the difference between hospice care and palliative care.
In addition, hospice care also fulfills emotional and spiritual needs of the person by providing counseling. It helps the patient comes to terms with dying and also provides emotional support to the patient.
Palliative care can be given in hospitals, nursing homes or even the patient’s home. Hospice care may be given in a hospice, hospital or patient’s home. When the patient receives hospice care at home, a healthcare professional visits the patient every day to ensure that the care is going on well. In addition, volunteers also visit the patient to relieve the primary caregiver.
Hospice care can be paid through Medicare or Medicaid. Even health insurance can cover the cost. On the other hand, palliative care is only covered by Medicaid if it is deemed necessary.
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LiveStrong: What Is The Difference Between Palliative Care and Hospice?
University of Maryland Medical Center: Palliative Care vs. Hospice Care