What is the Difference Between Palliative Care and Hospice Care?
If you or a loved one have a serious illness, getting the right kind of care is essential. Depending on your situation, you may benefit most from palliative care or hospice care. Both programs aim to control symptoms, provide pain relief, offer emotional support, and help patients and families make medical treatment decisions. Still, understanding some important differences between palliative care and hospice care can help you decide which one is right for you.
What is Hospice Care?
Hospice is an end-of-life program that ceases to provide curative treatments and instead focuses on making people with terminal illnesses as comfortable as possible. Another term for hospice is compassionate comfort care, as opposed to curative care.
People in hospice have a life expectancy of less than six months. Care most often takes place at home, though patients and families can also receive care at a nursing home, hospital, or specialized hospice care center. The care team consists of medical doctors and nurses, as well as family members, clergy, social workers, and counselors.
Hospice care is covered 100 percent by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private health insurance plans. As such, eligibility requirements come into play. To qualify, a physician must certify that the patient has less than six months to live if the disease follows its expected course.
What is Palliative Care?
Similar to hospice, palliative care is a form of compassionate comfort care aimed at making a serious or life-altering illness more manageable. Unlike hospice, palliative care can be pursued at any stage in the disease—at diagnosis, while receiving curative treatment, or at the end of life.
Palliative care complements curative treatments to improve the quality of life in people experiencing severe illness. The care team consists primarily of medical professionals, social workers, and counselors, who most often deliver services in their home, an assisted living, or outpatient clinic.
Palliative care is suitable for people who:
- Have a limited ability to care for themselves
- Are no longer benefiting from curative treatment
- Do not qualify for hospice
Anyone with a serious, long-term illness, whether life-threatening or not, qualifies for palliative care. The physician and patient work together to decide when care should begin. Costs and coverage vary based on insurance coverage and what treatments are needed.
Find the Right Hospice or Palliative Care Program
In short, if you have been diagnosed with a life-limiting, long-term illness, you can access palliative care at any time with input and advice from your doctor. Your treatment may switch to hospice care if your condition becomes terminal and curative treatments are no longer effective.
If you’re searching for the right hospice or palliative care program, Helping Hands for Seniors would be happy to help. We provide senior living placement and senior service assistance at no cost to you. We’re familiar with hundreds of providers in the Portland area, including Agape Hospice NW, where you can receive quality care. Count on us to be your kind and caring guide while you navigate these challenging times. For more information, please call (503) 746-4740 or contact us online.